Do Anti-Smoking Activists Know the Restaurant Business Better Than Restaurateurs Do?

I've always been puzzled by claims that smoking bans are good for the bar and restaurant industry. If so, why would the people whose livelihoods are a stake stubbornly continue to permit smoking and resist anti-smoking ordinances? It's implausible that anti-smoking activists would know more about a given business's bottom line than the owner does, let alone that bar and restaurant owners as a class would be systematically blind to their own interests vis-à-vis smoking rules when they pay careful attention to every other variable that affects their profits. Yet anti-smoking activists such as Stanton Glantz insist that the tobacco industry has brainwashed bar and restaurant owners into believing that smoking bans will hurt them, when in fact such laws increase their profitability by reducing personnel costs and attracting more customers. In the latest issue of Econ Journal Watch, David Henderson, an economist at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey (and a reason contributor), exposes the weaknesses in this argument, focusing on a 2004 Contemporay Economic Policy article that Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, co-authored with Benjamin Alamar, now a professor of management at Atherton College.

Using a database that includes restaurant sale prices and gross revenues, Alamar and Glantz find that restaurants in jurisdictions with comprehensive smoking bans have higher price-to-revenue ratios than restaurants in other jurisdictions. "There was a median increase of 16%...in the sale price of a restaurant in a jurisdiction with a smoke-free law compared to a comparable restaurant in a community without such a law," they write. "This result indicates that contrary to claims made by opponents of smoke-free laws, these laws are associated with an increase in restaurant profitability." Contrary to Alamar and Glantz's implication, Henderson notes, they did not actually look at changes in restaurant sale prices that followed the adoption of smoking bans—only at differences across jurisdictions. He also points out that higher price-to-revenue ratios could result from lower revenue as well as higher sale prices. Just as important, the study's sample omits restaurants that were not sold, perhaps because they were not profitable enough or even because they went out of business as a result of a smoking ban.

That last point relates to a broader criticism of Glantz's claims about the economic impact of smoking bans. As Henderson points out, a smoking ban is most likely to hurt bars and restaurants that cater to smokers. The owners of these businesses have calculated that they gain more by allowing smoking than they lose, that the smokers (and smokers' friends) attracted by a smoker-friendly policy spend enough money to outweigh the business of potential customers repelled by the smoke. If these owners are right, they will lose money as a result of a smoking ban, while their competitors might make more once competition based on smoking rules is no longer permitted. The customers who valued the opportunity to smoke lose too. Neither kind of loss shows up in gross data on revenues or sale prices.

Henderson notes that Alamar and Glantz claim "externalities" require government intervention in this area but never identify the relevant externalities. Since neither customers nor employees are forced to spend time in bars or restaurants that allow smoking, they can decide for themselves whether they're willing to put up with the smoke. The owners, in turn, suffer any resulting loss of business or increase in personnel costs (because it's harder to find workers, because they demand higher compensation, or, as Alamar and Glantz suggest, because they miss more work days and have higher health care costs as a result of secondhand smoke). Unlike, say, the harm caused by toxins dumped into a river, the costs of secondhand smoke in a bar or restaurant are internalized. In their reply to Henderson, Alamar and Glantz bizarrely insist this is not the case:

It is not possible for a restaurant owner to internalize the cost of second-hand smoke on the health of the staff or the patrons. There is no mechanism by which a restaurant owner can compensate a patron for any health costs related to second-hand smoke, therefore it is not possible for the owner to have completely internalized the costs of the externality imposed by the smoker.

In their original paper, they likewise claim the costs of secondhand smoke exposure in a bar or restaurant cannot be internalized:

Smokers and nonsmokers are not two well-defined groups but are rather numerous individuals with varied tolerances for smoke and willingness to refrain from smoking or to go outside to smoke. Even if the staff of the restaurant is ignored, the number of interested parties is very large with greatly varied preferences in regard to the externality. The large number of interested parties would cause negotiation costs to be high, which violates the assumption of low costs in the Coase theorem.

Henderson deftly exposes the fallacy:

The restaurant owner...no more need get huge numbers of people with varying smoking preferences together to make bargains than he needs to get people together to decide the menu, the lighting, the music, and the air conditioning. In normal discussions of negative externalities, it is costly for the sufferer not only to negotiate but also to exit. It is usually assumed that they are stuck in the "game," and the emphasis is on the cost of negotiation. But in the matter of going to a restaurant, the parties in question can easily decide not to be party at all. They can drive to a different restaurant or eat at home. All the restaurant owner need do is decide on a policy, announce it to the world, and then see what happens.

Although Henderson confines himself to the economics of government-imposed smoking bans, the issues of profitability and externalities both have moral dimensions. Even if restaurateurs know less about their own business than Stanton Glantz does, it's still their business, theirs to fritter away through unprofitable smoking policies if they so choose. And since exposure to secondhand smoke in a bar or restaurant is not forced on anyone, there is no externality to be corrected and therefore no moral justification for the use of force by people who prefer a smoke-free environment.

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  • ||

    If so, why would the people whose livelihoods are a stake stubbornly continue to permit smoking and resist anti-smoking ordinances?

    Imperfect information is one answer.

    The old Mexican standoff dynamic is another. Back when I was working the field of Chinese Food Transportation, Tony told me that he'd love to stop buying MSG - it cost over $100 for a 5 gallon bucket - but he afraid to, because if he did and his competition didn't, he'd lose out.

    Also, that bit about restaurants that aren't sold is way off base. If a restaurant is highly profitable, it is much LESS likely to be sold, not more. Restaurants that get sold are, more often then not, marginal businesses with owners that want to get out. By looking as restaurants that have not been sold, the researchers and taking a sample that was more profitable to begin with, in the aggregate.

    It seems that you start with the answer you want, and then work backwards to find arguments and evidence to justify it.

  • ||

    No, they don't. But then, they really don't care.

    The smoke-free zealots want their lifestyle choices to be subsidized by everyone else and they don't care who gets hurt in the process.

    One local seafood restaurant in suburban DC in Maryland, that had stood for decades, closed its door due to the smoking ban.

    The Anchor Inn in Wheaton had spent about $100,000 in the early '00's in smoke filtering equipment to satisfy legal requirements to provide a smoke-free, non-smoking section. Only a couple years later, in 2003, Monkey County passed a law banning smoking in bars and restaurants.

    The owners closed down instead of complying. They sold the business to someone else, but it didn't last and now it's gone, torn down for development.

  • x,y||

    It seems that joe decides he wants to ignore the liberty and property rights issues at stake, then write another worthless post.

  • ||

    This is still the wrong focus. I don't care if no smoking laws DO make restaurants and bars more profitable, they are still unreasonable encroachments on property rights and liberty in general.

    If we could prove that "Whites Only" signs made businesses more profitable would we as a society accept such a thing?

  • x,y||

    Oh, and joe, what makes you think bureaucrats have less imperfect information that the business owners themselves?

  • fyodor||

    Imperfect information is one answer.

    Then the question simply becomes why do smoking ban opponents have better information than do restaurateurs? Which, as I hope you can see, is the same question with different words, so you haven't answered it.

    As for the Mexican standoff, that could maybe explain why restaurateurs would not voluntarily offer smoke-free environments but would then profit from a large-scale smoking ban, but it would not explain why restaurateurs would oppose smoking bans, which is the question, unless we go back to point one and figure that they are somehow unaware of what you and smoking ban backers fully know.

  • ||

    "Also, that bit about restaurants that aren't sold is way off base. If a restaurant is highly profitable, it is much LESS likely to be sold, not more. Restaurants that get sold are, more often then not, marginal businesses with owners that want to get out. By looking as restaurants that have not been sold, the researchers and taking a sample that was more profitable to begin with, in the aggregate."

    Assuming that you are correct here for argument's sake, and only poorly performing restaurants are the ones that get sold, everything being equal, they are still worth more in areas that are without smoking bans.

  • Paul||

    Imperfect information is one answer.

    Joe, the market ferrets out imperfect information very efficiently. In fact, that's what markets do. That's why planned economies such as that of the old Soviet Union failed, and why they had ran on five year plans. They couldn't ferret out imperfect information.

  • ||

    A neighboring town adopted a smoke-free ordinance, even though there were already smoke-free bars in town, and they weren't doing great business.

    The town council, in their infinite wisdom of course, did not bother to think of this when they passed it anyway. I'm a non-smoker BTW.

  • Paul||

    Some years ago, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Empire, I was an invited speaker at a conference of company CEOs and presidents in Acapulco, Mexico. Another of the speakers was Gennady Gerasimov, who you may remember was Gorbachev's spokesperson to the West. I went to hear his talk, which he opened with a joke. And the joke went like this: The Soviet Union has invaded and successfully conquered every country on the planet, with one exception: New Zealand. The Soviet Union has chosen not to invade New Zealand. Question: Why? Answer: So we would know the market price of goods. --Nathaniel Branden

  • Bill Pope||

    Using the logic Jacob employs, there should be no workplace safety regulations because anyone is free to quit ( and possibly starve along with those they support). As Joe alluded to, many bar and restaurant owners would like to go smoke-free, but only as long as others do so as not to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Public health invariably suffers as a consequence, though Reason's Big Tobacco contributors will always fight anything that even slightly inconveniences their addicted customers in the name of "freedom".

  • ||

    It seems that joe decides he wants to ignore the liberty and property rights issues at stake, then write another worthless post.

    It's Fred's business, it's Fred's property, it's Fred's decision. That is obviously to damned complicated for some.

  • ||

    I worked at an entirely non-smoking restaurant in Arlington VA a little over a decade ago. It was a very successful restaurant. People did indeed go there because they enjoyed the completely smoke-free atmosphere (including the patio).
    Across the street there was a restaurant that did allow smoking, including cigars even. Both restaurants did great business.

    I worked in restaurants for a long time. I have seen smoking sections reduce in size over time to the point where only a few tables by the bar constituted the entire smoking section. If second-hand smoke in restaurants is a problem, it seems to be solving itself.

  • ||

    Bill Pope,

    Is secondhand smoke unhealthy? Probably in certain circumstances. It's certainly not nearly as unhealthy as smoking. Being able to smell smoke is not secondhand smoke, being in a room hazy with smoke probably is. I can't believe there are any valid health issues with smoking sections in bars or restaurants.

  • ||

    x, y,

    Why would I possibly be interested in replying to you, bitch?

  • fyodor||

    Also, joe, your Mexican standoff scenario actually assumes that allowing smoking is a competitive advantage, which flies in the face of the notion that restarateurs would ban smoking if only all the other restaurants would -- UNLESS there are increased costs (such as with buying MSG). Now, I'm sure you can find ways to argue that that's the case. But what have I seen in Denver? Lots of money spent on outdoor patios! Now, I must admit I kinda like the outdoor patios. But it seems to me the "externality" of the smoking ban was more likely to have increased costs than to have decreased them. Oh, but I'm sure those restaurants and bars would never have dreamed of setting up outdoor patios without being forced, and similar establishment owners in other states could not possibly notice as you enlightened ban supporters do!

  • ||

    fyodor,

    Then the question simply becomes why do smoking ban opponents have better information than do restaurateurs?

    I don't think they did, initially. They were just sort of acting on faith.

    Now, if they do have better information, it would probably be because they have several years worth of evidence to go through on the consequences of the smoking ban, which is something researchers are going to do more often than restaurant owners.

    BTW, what, exactly, do you suppose I know?

  • fyodor||

    x, y,

    Why would I possibly be interested in replying to you, bitch?


    You just did! My unsolicited advice to you, joe, is to ignore anyone who attacks you personally and reply to those who treat you with respect using the reserve time and energy you have saved!

  • ||

    Paul, J sub D,

    Is this part where I cross myself three times, or kneel?

  • Nephilium||

    What do smoking bans hurt? The places us evil, life stealing smokers like to hang out.

    In general, these are:

    Bars.
    Coffee Shops.
    24-hour diners.

    All of these get hurt by smoking bans... (anecdotal evidence alert: When the ban went live here in Ohio, there was a 24-hour diner calling into a Saturday talk show saying that the previous night, his business brought in $80. It used to bring in $800 every Friday.)

    And to Bill Pope: If there is this huge desire to go smoke free, then there is NO competitive disadvantage to going smoke free. It just means us evil smokers will go elsewhere. That is a competitive advantage, it means you'll get more non-smokers, and if there are as many non-smokers who wish to go out to the bars as everyone who keeps pushing these damned bans down our throat think, you'll be rolling in cash. However, it seems that those who "really want to go to the bar, but hate the smoke", don't actually go out to the bars that much. Whereas us horrible filthy smokers become fixtures in bars.

    Oh well... the smoking bans have saved me money... drinking at home more... it's cheaper, and I have a better selection... now just to find a cute female to be my bartender at home...

    Nephilium

  • ||

    fyodor,

    If you don't smack the doggie in the nose when he yaps, he'll keep yapping.

    Also, joe, your Mexican standoff scenario actually assumes that allowing smoking is a competitive advantage, which flies in the face of the notion that restarateurs would ban smoking if only all the other restaurants would -- UNLESS there are increased costs (such as with buying MSG).

    Or unless the elimination of smoking increases the overall restaurant customer base.

    Oh, but I'm sure those restaurants and bars would never have dreamed of setting up outdoor patios without being forced

    Well, the one datum I have about the subject - the post you just wrote - indicates that the smoking ban did, in fact, lead to more patios being set up.

  • fyodor||

    Now, if they do have better information, it would probably be because they have several years worth of evidence to go through on the consequences of the smoking ban, which is something researchers are going to do more often than restaurant owners.

    Well, there's no reason restaurateurs can't read what the researchers have found! But anyway, now we're getting to the crux of the matter. Experts (such as researchers) know more than the people who are actually directly affected. This is at the crux of libertarian - statist disagreements. No point, probably, in arguing about it.

    As for what you know, you'll have to excuse me if I perhaps read a little more into what you were you saying than you actually were. If you don't claim to know that smoking bans have no adverse effects on the industries subjected to them, well all right then!

    And apologies for my previous premature post about who to pay attention to!

  • fyodor||

    Well, the one datum I have about the subject - the post you just wrote - indicates that the smoking ban did, in fact, lead to more patios being set up.

    Sure, but that doesn't mean it was good for business versus not having been forced to to attract smokers!

  • ||

    fyodor,

    Sometimes, people who actually look at data do know more than people who draw their information from their personal experience.

    This really has nothing to do with statism.

    Pauline Kael doesn't know a single person who still goes to bars, now that there's a smoking ban.

    I don't know if the smoking bans have been an overall detriment or benefit to restaurants, or not. I do know that the statement "the businessowner must know more, and we don't need no eggheads looking at evidence" is a statement of faith. If I can find a single restaurant owner who was surprised to see his business increase after the smoking ban, which wouldn't be too hard, then the whole argument collapses.

  • ||

    To restate my previous point in a more obvious way:

    Non-smokers have already made their wishes known. Smoking in restaurants is occurring less and less and there is more impetus to provide ventilation in those places where smoking still exists to cater to non-smokers. The exception is places where smoking is more or less the point of going.

    It must be great to be a public health official and be able to take credit for things that are happening via the market.

  • ||

    "It's implausible that anti-smoking activists would know more about a given business's bottom line than the owner does, let alone that bar and restaurant owners as a class would be systematically blind to their own interests vis-à-vis smoking rules when they pay careful attention to every other variable that affects their profits."

    There definitely seems to be a common misconception among the chattering asses about small business owners and their qualifications for making business decisions.

    If a business owner doesn't have an MBA or his choices haven't been circumscribed by someone who can be held responsible by an elected official, then he obviously doesn't know what he's doing.

    ...I mean, I've always had a sense that something like that was lurking in the background, but lately that noise seems to be getting worse. It's bad enough hearing that consumers don't know what's in their own best interests--throwing that crap at business owners goes even beyond that.

  • Episiarch||

    joe, you responded to:

    It seems that joe decides he wants to ignore the liberty and property rights issues at stake, then write another worthless post.

    with:

    Why would I possibly be interested in replying to you, bitch?

    Aside from the over-reaction of you giving this response to the word "worthless", care to address the liberty and property rights issues at stake?

  • ||

    joe -

    Do you support smoking bans?

  • ||

    The idea that consumers need the government to protect them from businesses still seems silly to me, but the idea that businesses need the government to protect them from their customers--that's ridiculous.

  • ||

    mk,

    There has indeed been a cultural change, that' can't be ignored.

    It also can't be ignored that this cultural change has occured largely after the widespread experience of restaurant owners and customers with nonsmoking sections and complete bans.

    Sometimes, society gets into a groove, and the choice isn't between A and B, but between the status quo and change. If change has a start-up cost, that is a thumb on the scale for A. If the consequences of switching to B is unknown, then that's another thumb on the scale for A.

    This complicates the issue of whether a revealed preference for A over B has actually been established by the fact that businessowners didn't make the change to B.

  • ed||

    I can't add anything that hasn't already been said 200 times every 6 weeks this topic gets recycled here except congratulations to all who correctly spelled restaurateur without adding the erroneous "n". Kudos! Please pass along your wisdom to your local news anchors.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    While it is true that sometimes businesses do things that make little sense, ie there's no damn reason for it, it's just our policy, as a rule businesses tend to operate in a reasonably efficient manner for exactly the reasons economists cite. If they don't, they go out of business.

    In my line of work I see numbers that sometimes don't make sense. Usually that leads to a serious discussion with a client. Often there is a solid reason to explain what I (Mr Outside Numbers Guy) thinks don't make sense.

    I was thinking about the airline industry's whining to CONgress for a blanket ban on in-flight smoking because smoking is icky and it messes up the aircraft's air filtration systems. But then I read Fyodor's comment and realized the difference.

    The airlines wanted smoking banned across the board while the bar owners generally do NOT support a smoking ban. [this is being hit in the head lessons, sorry for it not sinking in sooner]

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    No, not really. There's only so far a conversation about whose values are superior can go. I mean, mine, obviously.

    Ayn Randian,

    I don't have strong feelings one way or another.

  • Episiarch||

    No, not really. There's only so far a conversation about whose values are superior can go. I mean, mine, obviously.

    Color me surprised. Nice to know that you completely dismiss the concerns of liberty and property rights.

    As if I needed more proof that liberals are as uninterested as conservatives in personal liberty or individual rights.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    And of course, it bears repeating.

    Even if restaurateurs know less about their own business than Stanton Glantz does, it's still their business, theirs to fritter away through unprofitable smoking policies if they so choose

  • bill||

    What I don't get is why don't both governments and bar owners understand the use of air exchangers? If I'm changing the air in my bar every few minutes this whole thing is a non-issue. Instead of an outright ban, just set an acceptable parts per million of smoke and mandate that. A couple of thousands of dollars of air handling equipment (a few fans and a heat exchanger) and EVERYONE can be happy.

  • fyodor||

    Sometimes, people who actually look at data do know more than people who draw their information from their personal experience.

    That's a rather noncomittal statement there, joe. You can say "sometimes" to almost anything.

    This really has nothing to do with statism.

    Whether you feel you are making such an argument personally, I've heard the argument enough that I think it's central to statist thought that experts who have more data than common folk are better at making decisions for them than they are for themselves. Do you really think this has nothing to do with your POV? I actually don't really see it as an inherently vile POV, even if I believe it to be severely misguided. It may even be true..."sometimes"! :-) Just less often than it is not true!

  • ||

    I'm a Liberal and a recent non-smoker and I am 100% opposed to smoking restrictions for private businesses.

    It all boils down to "think of the children " doesn't it ?

  • Jennifer||

    The state telling people what they can and cannot do on their own property has nothing to do with statism?

  • Paul||

    As Joe alluded to, many bar and restaurant owners would like to go smoke-free, but only as long as others do so as not to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

    Bill Pope... how do you explain the plethora of non-smoking establishments pre-smoking ban?

  • fyodor||

    It all boils down to "think of the children " doesn't it ?

    Or in this case, adults who are being treated as children!

  • Paul||

    Paul, J sub D,

    Is this part where I cross myself three times, or kneel?


    I...don't know... is this what you usually do when a new regulation or ban is passed?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    What I don't get is why don't both governments and bar owners understand the use of air exchangers

    I've noticed in the newer casinos in Nevada that you can't hardly tell when you've strolled out of the smoking section of the casino into the non-smoking section. I'm sure that's just good engineering and modern technology.

  • ||

    I was thinking about the airline industry's whining to CONgress for a blanket ban on in-flight smoking because smoking is icky and it messes up the aircraft's air filtration systems.

    Why do they need Congress to make a law? Can't they just ban it on their flights regardless?

  • ||

    Smoking bans in bars are complete ridiculous. Next they'll ban sex in bars.....oh wait.

  • ||

    I smoked two packs of Camel straights a day before I quit. There's really no value in smoking to offset the risks, and the stink. It's simply an addiction.

    Now I just don't go anywhere that allows smoking if I can at all help it. Sure I'd like to see smoking banned (also farting and lousy perfume) but if everyone that dosen't like smoke would also avoid places that allow smoking, then there wouldn't be any need for laws about it.

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    Believe it or not, there are actually other things one can discuss than libertarians' property fetish.

    Jennifer,

    Take another crack at that, because "the state telling people..." was not the subject of the statement you are alluding to. WTF? Didn't you used to be an English teacher?

  • Episiarch||

    Is this part where I cross myself three times, or kneel?

    I...don't know... is this what you usually do when a new regulation or ban is passed?


    WINNAR

  • Jennifer||

    As Joe alluded to, many bar and restaurant owners would like to go smoke-free, but only as long as others do so as not to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

    As a business owner I would like to save money by not paying for air conditioning in the hot summer months, but if other businesses use air conditioning that will put me at a competitive disadvantage. Maybe I should lobby for an air-conditioning ban? I'll say it's "for the children" or "for the environment," because that sounds much better than admitting it's "for me."

  • ||

    "CoveAxe | September 19, 2007, 1:54pm | #

    I was thinking about the airline industry's whining to CONgress for a blanket ban on in-flight smoking because smoking is icky and it messes up the aircraft's air filtration systems.

    Why do they need Congress to make a law? Can't they just ban it on their flights regardless?"

    Because if they had banned it as a business practice, then a competing airline willing to take the risk would have offered "Smoking flights" taking away business from those that had banned it.

    By forcing Congress to enact the law they 1) can blame Congress and 2) force ALL airlines to do the same, taking away any competitive edge in allowing smoking flights. That's what I think anyway.

  • ||

    fyodor,

    I've heard the argument enough that I think it's central to statist thought that experts who have more data than common folk are better at making decisions for them than they are for themselves.

    I'm sure you believe you have. In fact, you probably think you are hearing one right now, on this thread. Because the dispute was carefully laid out by Sullum to make you think that.

    But, you see, no one is proposing that smoking should be banned in order to boost restaurant owners' profitability. Smoking bans are proposed as a way of reducing death and illness. A counter-argument has been made that these bans impose an economic cost to the businesses. That is, as a matter of fact, something that can be measured, and which people's guts can be wrong about.

    The distinction here isn't between experts vs. laymen, but between a more rigorous and less rigorous process for coming to a conclusion. I'm sure an individual restaurant owner will know, better than a statistician, what the effect of going non-smoking was on his individual business. That doesn't make him better at determining what the effect of the ban on the entire industry was.

    Pauline Kael knew far better than those elitist bureaucrats at Gallup how the people she knew voted. Where she went wrong was in trying to draw a broad conclusion based on her own experience. The Gallup people actually did know better than she how the election would turn out.

  • ||

    Paul, J sub D,

    Is this part where I cross myself three times, or kneel?


    We are aware of your general disrespect for property rights, joe. Was your Mother frightened by a landlord when she was carrying you? ;-)

  • ||

    Yeah, sorta been thinkin' 'bout openin' up a place where folks can come and smoke, discreetly, 'course. Maybe even allow drinkin'. Since I won't be selling anything it can't be against the law, can it? No minors (or miners) allowed, not even with their parents. How long can I stay in business, I'm wonderin'.

  • ||

  • ||

    capelza:

    I would think the airlines would do it anyway because there really is a cost advantage, and most people do not check whether a flight is smoking or non. I'd wager that most would prefer a non-smoking flight, especially if the tickets were cheaper.

  • ||

    It also can't be ignored that this cultural change has occured largely after the widespread experience of restaurant owners and customers with nonsmoking sections and complete bans.

    True on the first, but you would have to do a lot of intellectual gymnastics to convince me of the second (and the second is what we are really talking about here).

    The reason why the cultural change has happened for restaurant owners is that more and more people who came into their restaurants said "non-smoking" when the hostess asked them where they wanted to sit. It really is just that simple.
    In a smoking ban the opportunity to respond to the customer's wishes is removed.

  • Paul||

    But, you see, no one is proposing that smoking should be banned in order to boost restaurant owners' profitability.

    No, they're not. What this thread refers to is a sort of ex post facto result of "improved profitability". The idea being that the ban is good anyway because it'll have a positive impact on your bottom line.

    It's like a city banning the use of backyard grills and then responding to the outcry by pointing out how much money the homeowners will save by not buying charcoal and lighter fluid.

  • ||

    Two Anecdotes (or) Why Smoking Bans Are Fallacious

    I lived in Richmond, VA for a time, known for recently housing Philip Morris' corporate HQ after a Manhattan smoking ban told PM's president he couldn't smoke in his high-rise office. I also worked for Philip Morris for a time. This is a mightily tobacco-friendly state, if I haven't made my point.

    Richmond was rife with amazing restaurants, and the city has no smoking ban. My wife and I lived within walking distance of an amazingly tasty establishment that allowed smoking and was always packed. Then the restaurant polled its patrons on the topic of a possible smoking ban. The patrons voted in favor of a smoking ban, and it was enacted. The restaurant remained tasty and incessantly busy.

    Point: Restaurants can self-regulate

    Then I moved to Colorado in May 2006. Much to my chagrin, the state was excited about the upcoming July 1, 2006 smoking ban. ugh. The town has a cute, quaint, Old-West downtown with a number of fine restaurants (some independently non-smoking) interspersed with biker bars. Come July 1, like fyodor, we witnessed the proliferation of outside smoking patios. In a small, quaint downtown, this amounts to assaulting the bypassing pedestrians and strollers with previously-sequestered-in-the-bars tobacco smoke.

    Point: The assumption that people don't have the capacity to choose a (non-)smoking environment dumps that habit into the laps of passersby, who may very well have chosen not to enter said smoky bars.

  • Paul||

    The reason why the cultural change has happened for restaurant owners is that more and more people who came into their restaurants said "non-smoking" when the hostess asked them where they wanted to sit. It really is just that simple.
    In a smoking ban the opportunity to respond to the customer's wishes is removed.


    Touche, mk. When I was a kid in like the seventies I remember my parents always asking for non-smoking when going out to eat. Smoking bans are quite literally an attempt to hammer in a nail that was already flush a long, long time ago.

    Eh well, it's all about posturing and a further continuation of the drug war. You guys do realize that you lose just a little bit more ground on the drug war everytime a smoking ban is passed, right?

  • ||

    Stop the lies, joe! Pauline Kael didn't say that Nixon quote.
    http://begonias.typepad.com/srubio/2004/12/kaelnixon_updat.html

  • ||

    "CoveAxe | September 19, 2007, 2:13pm | #

    capelza:

    I would think the airlines would do it anyway because there really is a cost advantage, and most people do not check whether a flight is smoking or non. I'd wager that most would prefer a non-smoking flight, especially if the tickets were cheaper."

    I don't know...if someone started the "Smoker's Airliine" there are still enough people around who'd pay for the privilige. Especially on long flights. 25% of Americans fess up to smoking (they all must live here in the PNW because the percentage is higher than that in the industries I work in (commercial fishing..at least half the people smoke..I kid you not). Paying extra for the opportunity to light one up on the long flight to Alaska and then the even more nerve wracking puddle jumps out to the hinterland where the fleets are...yeah.

    Truth be told, some of the very small planes, the pilot is stil the first to light up...but that's the very small planes.

  • robc||

    I'm sure an individual restaurant owner will know, better than a statistician, what the effect of going non-smoking was on his individual business.

    And thats all that matters, not the affect on the whole industry. When 1 persons property is harmed, it is harmed, even if everyone else's is helped.

    It isnt the job of government to protect us from voluntary harm, such as second hand smoke in restaurants/bars. Therefore, the government shouldnt be harming ANY business in order to prevent it.

    There are some cases where government action is necessary and if they happen to harm a business then, so be it. But to harm an individual business for no legimate reason is morally wrong.

    Which category do I get +1 pt in? Is that the harm category or maybe loyalty?

  • ||

    The old Mexican standoff dynamic is another. Back when I was working the field of Chinese Food Transportation, Tony told me that he'd love to stop buying MSG - it cost over $100 for a 5 gallon bucket - but he afraid to, because if he did and his competition didn't, he'd lose out.



    The problem here was that the government did not ban Chinese food. Everyone knows that pizza chains make way more money on delivery than Chinese resteraunts... and more revenue means more taxes, and more taxes mean better schools!

    Everyone knows that if we had to vote on the one style of food that we prefer, pizza and burgers would come out way ahead of all other forms of cuisine. It is only democratic that we give the people what they want (burgers and pizzas)and help our schools at the same time, by banning Chinese food.

    You think that you have some sort of right to choose Chinese food, joe? Tell that to the kid who can't learn math because he doesn't have a textbook! All because you think that your personal tastes and preferences have priority over the ability of the state to generate revenue for education! The right of every child to a decent, state-funded education is is greater than your right to choose Fuqi Feipian over burgers, joe.

    I am starting a group called "Citizens for the Survival of Public Education", and it is our goal to make sure that Chinese food is banned, all around the country. No longer can we have allow outdated concepts like property rights and personal taste to lead the assault on our children.

    You are either with us or against us joe! But remember, we are not about to let 300 million innocent children in America down!

  • ||

    "...this amounts to assaulting the bypassing pedestrians and strollers with previously-sequestered-in-the-bars tobacco smoke..."

    Being "assaulted" by diesel exhaust is OK?
    http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/dieselexhaust/index.html

    Strollers? Come on. I love the smell of baby crap. Especially when I'm out eating.

  • ||

    Paul,

    I can only speak for myself. In my opinion, demonstrating that smoking bans increase, or at least, do not threaten, restaurant profitability doesn't make the case for smoking bans. What it does is rebut one of the arguments offered in opposition to smoking bans - namely, that they will hurt restaurant profitability.

    mk,

    There is somewhat of a chicken/egg effect. As more people have the opportunity to realize that they like eating in restaurants with clean air, more restaurants will accommodate them. As more restaurants go non-smoking, more people will realize that they like it better that way. But that doesn't mean that an intervention wasn't necessary to set that virtuous cycle in motion.

    It's comparable to segregation. If the laws forbidding racial discrimination in the renting of hotel rooms were overturned tomorrow, very few of the hotels in the South would deny rooms to black customers - far fewer than were actually denying rooms to those customers in the 30s. And yet, can there be any doubt that the actual experience of watching hotels operate without segregating rooms, and operate successfully, has played a role in this cultural change?

  • ||

    robc,

    And thats all that matters, not the affect on the whole industry. When 1 persons property is harmed, it is harmed, even if everyone else's is helped.

    Matter, in what sense?

    And then you explain, matters, when you assume the political/ideological beliefs that follow. True enough.

    But you see, many people have made the case against smoking bans on aggregate restaurant profitability grounds.

  • ||

    Smoking bans are proposed as a way of reducing death and illness.



    And the matter of fact is that banning second hand smoke in resteraunts and bars has virtually no effect on public health. There has not been a single reputable study linking smoking bans with reduced mortality to smoking related illness. Not one.

    Smoking bans are passed because smoking is icky, and more people dislike smoking than like it, and in the absence of property rights 60% of the people can force their lifestyle choice on the other 40%.

    That is, of course, ignoring the fact that I am exposed to way more cigarette smoke post-smoking-ban, as I walk through toxic clouds of outdoor smoke more often than I would go to the bar... and I often think back fondly to my smoke-free days before the government banned indoor smoking.

  • ||

    Rex,

    Yawn.

  • JBinMO||

    The smoking ban works for me. My wife and I are smokers in a town that has adopted a smoking ban. We used to go out literally three times a week, now maybe twice a month. We are saving a ton. Not only that, but as creatures of habit, when we do quit again, we probably wont start going out.

  • ||

    I'm still amazed at the change in social attitudes about smoking. I remember when one would go into a coffee shop and smokers would think nothing of sitting down in the "no smoking " section and lighting up. Happened far too many times for me. .One reason why I still carry a grudge against smokers.

    I think a lot of the bans-with-teeth occurred because people (either the restaurant owners or the clientele) just got fed up with dealing with smokers who didn't obey the posted rules. Also because more and more people were asking for non-smoking sections, and also because in a lot of cases the "smoking/no smoking" was badly designed and even if you were in the non-smoking area you still got wafts of second-hand smoke. For people with allergies to tobacco smoke, sitting in a supposed "non-smoking area" may still expose them to far too much smoke.

    Have heard that one of the main reasons for banning smoking on airlines is the tendency of smoke particles to be a good disease vector if you're in a closed environment for hours on end. When airlines started looking at the amount of exposure to bacteria/viruses/whatever carried on smoke particles, especially on international flights, they started getting terrified about liability issues. (One of the reasons why second-hand smoke has far more problems than simple carcinogenic aspects.)

  • Nephilium||

    Rex Rhino: Don't forget us throngs of smokers that are done being polite. I used to be a polite smoker, go as far away from people, wait for people to finish eating... etc... But once you (collective, not specific) decided to tell me that the bars I go to, and the restaurants I eat in can't let me smoke... so I should go stand outside in a Cleveland winter... the polite smoker goes away, to be replaced by the pissed off smoker.

    Nephilium

  • fyodor||

    joe,

    Neither Sullum nor I have claimed that the initial rationale for smoking bans was economic. However, the claim has been made that bans have helped affected restaurant businesses. So the question arises, in lieu of studying all the (lies, damn lies and) statistics myself or finding some mythically impartial person to do so for me, and if restaurateurs continue to oppose such bans, do I believe the restaurateurs that such bans are against their interests or the ban supporters (and Glantz is not the only one) who say they are not? I go with the restaurateurs. And I have plenty good REASON to, not some damn "gut" reaction!!

  • ||

    Do environmental activists know more about the autmobile manufacturing industry than automobile manufacturers?

    Lee Iacocca, certianly no intellectual slouch, testified before Congress that banning leaded gasoline would result in the elimination of the automobile manufacturing industry by 1975. The environmental activists and the majority of Congressmen who passed the ban disagreed with him.

    Lee Iacocca was wrong. Famously wrong. Hilariously wrong. Historically wrong.

    On this particular question, the activists knew better than the businessowners.

    If your political beliefs tell you that businessowners must always be correct - if they cannot account for the adherence to convential wisdom and habit of groupthink that are constants in the human experience - then you need to update your political beliefs.

  • Jennifer||

    For people with allergies to tobacco smoke, sitting in a supposed "non-smoking area" may still expose them to far too much smoke.

    Oooh, I can't WAIT until that logic is applied to bans intended to protect people with peanut allergies.

  • ||

    "...smoke particles to be a good disease vector..."

    What? The smoke results from tobacco burning at ~495 deg. I don't think any viruses or bacteria are hitching a ride. Plus- how many pathogens could actually attach to the nano-particles?

  • ||

    It's comparable to segregation. If the laws forbidding racial discrimination in the renting of hotel rooms were overturned tomorrow, very few of the hotels in the South would deny rooms to black customers - far fewer than were actually denying rooms to those customers in the 30s. And yet, can there be any doubt that the actual experience of watching hotels operate without segregating rooms, and operate successfully, has played a role in this cultural change?



    joe, you are forgetting that in the 1930s the government had to pass Jim-Crow laws to explicitly segregate hotel rooms, because some people felt "uncomfortable" around blacks, similiar to how some people feel "uncomfortable" around smoking, and wanted the government to do something about it.

    Smoking bans are more comparible to Jim Crow laws.

  • ||

    fyodor,

    That's a reasonable starting point. A rule of thumb, as it were.

    But it is not a refutation of the data, once it comes in.

  • ||

    Rex,

    The government had to pass those laws to stop a small minority of businessmen from breaking with the community's values, including those of their much-more-numerous competitiors.

    You can't really be claiming that attitudes about segregation haven't changed over the past 50 years, can you?

  • ||

    some people felt "uncomfortable" around blacks, similiar to how some people feel "uncomfortable" around smoking

    Bwah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

    You should carve that on your tombstone, Rex.

    No, no...I'm laughing WITH you.

  • Jennifer||

    The government had to pass those laws to stop a small minority of businessmen from breaking with the community's values, including those of their much-more-numerous competitiors.

    That comment was posted by a troll pretending to be Joe, right? I can't believe that the real Joe--even on days like this one where he's in a pissy mood--would seriously post a comment defending Jim Crow laws on the grounds that the racist majority of the time had to be protected from business owners that wanted to serve an integrated clientele in defiance of community values.

  • ||

    As a New Yorker who was against the smoking ban, the most interesting outcome I've seen is how happy everyone seems to be with it. If I may get all anecdotal for a second, I spend a LOT of time in bars, and I have yet to meet anybody, smoker or non-, who isn't happy about the ban. I haven't seen any evidence of any bars or restaurants going out of business as a result either.

    One thing I'm surprised about is that the dry cleaners didn't launch a concerted opposition to the ban. My cleaning bills have probably been cut in half now that I don't have to clean every item of clothing I'm wearing after one night out.

  • ||

    Yawn.



    Yeah, I know you find the complete lack of scientific evidence to back up smoking bans to be boring joe. It is so much more exciting to micromanage people's lifestyles based on irrational fear.

  • Episiarch||

    People, why continue to argue with joe? He knows better than you what is good for you. Kneel to his superior knowledge and wisdom, and your life will become a paradise, free from pain, worry, or secondhand smoke--and freedom.

  • ||

    The government had to pass those laws to stop a small minority of businessmen from breaking with the community's values, including those of their much-more-numerous competitiors.



    Is that a troll pretending to be joe? I want to be sure before I jump on him for supporting Jim Crow.

  • Episiarch||

    Is that a troll pretending to be joe?

    Nope. joe's statism just showed its true totalitarian impulses, that's all. He's a bit excited and pissy, and posting fast.

    joe, I couldn't have asked for a better example of the true you.

  • ed||

    What it really boils down to is whether Americans are prepared to give up their rights (others' rights as well) for a perceived health benefit. In this case, the biggest gang has seen fit to deny property rights to the smaller gang. What the bigger gang fails to realize is that they have added another brick to the foundation of the nanny state. They haven't the philosophical or historical training to project the long-term implications of this surrender. Most Americans are intellectually agnostic. They think short-term. They are their own worst enemies, and they are dragging the rest of us down with them.

  • ||

    JB, I'm with you. I am firmly against smoking bans on the same principals as most of you: it encroaches on the rights of a private business to choose how to run itself. However, when the Chicago smoking ban finally goes into effect 1/1/08, it will likely be a big help to our budget and our habit. It will be much easier to quit, and if we don't, we'll be a lot less likely to go to or linger at the bar or restaurant.

  • ||

    Jennifer/Rex,

    Get a grip. You're blatantly misreading Joe's statement. He pretty obviously means that businesses that were not segregated were the exception, not the rule, and that the racist governments "had to" pass those laws to bring them in line. He's countering Rex's argument that, prior to Jim Crow, there was no segregation.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    It's no wonder the school fired you.

    You can't read worth a shit.

    Defending? Take a Prozac.

  • Jennifer Emick||

    Kinda poor logic in that. The price increase may be due tyo actual increased costs, or simply perception of the owners.

  • ||

    Rex,

    Any time you want to talk about scientific evidence, as opposed to the Professin of Faith I was yawning at, go right ahead.

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    You make Jennifer look like Einstein.

    U too don't reed so gud.

  • ||

    For people without arguments or evidence, the chance to shout racist is, as the journalists say, "too good to check."

  • Episiarch||

    He pretty obviously means that businesses that were not segregated were the exception, not the rule, and that the racist governments "had to" pass those laws to bring them in line.

    Irrelevant. joe is OK with the goverment disregarding property rights, and has irrefutably shown that on this thread.

    When it was done as Jim Crow, it was also disregarding property rights.

    Even if joe was not defending Jim Crow, he still supports the government being able to disregard property rights--and that includes when it does something like Jim Crow.

  • ||

    Even if joe was not defending Jom Crow...

    How about you grow a pair and admit you were wong?

    And then apologize.

  • Episiarch||

    Backpeddle a little harder, joe. You support government disregard for property rights. By your own example of Jim Crow we see some of the horrible consequences of this disregard.

    Still support government disregard of property rights, joe? Or just when the "right people" are in charge?

  • fyodor||

    Do environmental activists know more about the autmobile manufacturing industry than automobile manufacturers?

    Lee Iacocca, certianly no intellectual slouch, testified before Congress that banning leaded gasoline would result in the elimination of the automobile manufacturing industry by 1975.


    Oh gad, apples and organges, totally irrelevant. Who knows if Iacocca meant that or was just posturing? Now, I don't doubt that banning lead was bad for the auto industry (do you?), but it was in Iacocca's interest to exaggerate how bad. Restaurateurs may do the same thing, but so what. The question before us, as I see it, is whether anti-smoking activists can be trusted to interpret the data accurately when they say smoking bans help restaurants' bottom lines while restaurateurs continue to oppose smoking bans. Y'know, joe, once in a while a rolled pair of dice turns up a 12, but it's still a lot smarter to bet on 1 through 11 cause that's what usually happens.

  • ||

    Irrelevant.

    Well, it's pretty relevant to the accusation that joe is defending Jim Crow, which was the subject of my post and a few previous posts.

    Sheesh. Read.

  • ||

    "...and admit you were wong?"

    Hey! Joe's racist against Asians too!

  • Jennifer||

    Wow, Joe. You really are in a bad mood today. Maybe you'll convince more people here to see things your way if you ramp up the insults a notch? So far, skimming over this thread, I can only see them directed at me, XY and Episiarch. Don't limit yourself like that.

  • ||

    Apologize.

  • ||

    Really, folks, smoking bans are a public health issue and have nothing to do with the right to own property. So enough about "disregard for property rights", especially when that property is opened up by the owner for the public.

  • ||

    Well, fyodor, at least you've gotten to the point of admitting that it is possible for businessowners to wrongly predict the consequences of government actions that effect their businesses. That's a good start.

    There seem to be quite a few people who think it is literally impossible.

    Jennifer,

    Apologize. BTW, that's two you owe me, as I recall.

    I'm in a fine mood, today, thanks for asking. I just don't suffer fools gladly on any day.

  • x,y||

    Why would I possibly be interested in replying to you, bitch?

    Just in case anyone is wondering, this is what a losing argument looks like.

  • Archie Leach||

    joe | September 19, 2007, 3:30pm | #
    Apologize.



    I apologise unreservedly.

    (please don't dangle me out the window any more)

  • ||

    Get a grip. You're blatantly misreading Joe's statement. He pretty obviously means that businesses that were not segregated were the exception, not the rule, and that the racist governments "had to" pass those laws to bring them in line. He's countering Rex's argument that, prior to Jim Crow, there was no segregation.



    I never said that prior to Jim Crow that there was no segregation. I said the same philosophy of protecting people from what they consider to be "bad" applies.

    Both smoking bans and Jim Crow are laws where passed by people to "protect" themselves from the lifestyle choices of other people which where never forced on anyone.

    Although, I have heard people talk about "allowing smoking attracts a bad element", to not think there might not be a racial or class element to smoking bans. Since smoking is more popular in low income populations, and certain immigrant populations, it isn't unreasonable to think smoking bans often have an sinister unspoken goal of segregating certain groups of people. A slightly more subtle version of things like bans on baggy pants. So in reality Smoking Bans and Jim Crow might not be all that different.

  • ed||

    smoking bans are a public health issue and have nothing to do with the right to own property

    Fuck off, Dan.
    Really.
    The adults are having a discussion.

  • x,y||

    fyodor,

    Perhaps you can show me where I attacked joe personally? I said his post was "worthless" because it didn't address liberty or private property issues. Hardly ad hominem.

  • Jennifer||

    Just in case anyone is wondering, this is what a losing argument looks like.

    Be nice, XY. If I owe Joe an apology, you do too. Tell him you're sorry for provoking him into calling you a bitch.

  • Otto||

    [meditating using the ancient tantric method that the monks used before going to battle. gotta focus that aggression]

  • ||

    The adults are having a discussion.

    Yes, you guys are so adult with your nonstop whining about not being able to do what you want at all times, others be damned.

  • ||

    Rex,

    One might consider it relevant that the presence of black people does not put irritants and materials linked to fatal diseases in the air breathed by those in their presence.

    It might feel good to speculate darkly on the motives of people who disagree with you, but this really isn't a mystery. People oppose smoking because it is physically sickening.

  • Episiarch||

    Apologize.

    Hee. You are the most amusing when you have backed yourself into a corner.

    Maybe you can explain to everyone why it's fine to disregard property rights, even though that can result in Jim Crow laws*.

    * brought up by...you

  • ||

    For people without arguments or evidence, the chance to shout racist is, as the journalists say, "too good to check."



    joe, you were the one who brought up the race card first. You tried to imply that banning smoking is like banning segregation, and so that if you don't support smoking bans you must be racist. We turned that arguement right back on you, totally schooled you, and now you want to cry "no fair".

  • Chaez n waihn||

    Mooooom!!!!! I wanna go to the free market. NOW! C'mon. mom...

    arggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

  • ||

    x,y,

    No, avoiding answering questions, and sucking up to other commenters, is what losing an argument looks like.

    Hi, Jennifer!

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    Maybe you can explain why it is fine to drive an automobile, even though it might result in running over a pedestrian.

    You know what? Don't bother. I'm don't think the people who need to be walked through such an exercise would be able to follow the logic, no matter how much you break it down.

  • x,y||

    I want to believe this is isn't a troll joe imposter, but some of the posts are very joe-like. Just in a bad mood today?

  • Jennifer||

    No, avoiding answering questions, and sucking up to other commenters, is what losing an argument looks like.

    But saying "Why would I be interested in replying to you, bitch?" looks like "avoiding answering questions," which in turn is what losing an argument looks like, right?

    Why, oh why, must this thread turn into a house of mirrors?

  • ||

    I think a lot of the bans-with-teeth occurred because people (either the restaurant owners or the clientele) just got fed up with dealing with smokers who didn't obey the posted rules.


    Bans with teeth happened because non-smokers disliked being around smokers in bars and restaurants. While they didn't mind smokers enough to actually stop going to establishments that allowed smoking, they minded enough to support laws to ban smoking in those places.

    That's all there is to it. Public health claims were just rationalizations for the simple truth that most non-smokers wanted the law brought to bear so they wouldn't smell tobacco smoke.

  • MISTER M. DAMON||

    Demand kurv?

    Ekonomiks 79?

    Oh hay hai. I'm an "Austrian Economist".

    *sighs. trods off...

  • Episiarch||

    Maybe you can explain why it is fine to drive an automobile allow smoking in your business, even though it might result in running over a pedestrian losing some business.

    or...

    Maybe you can explain why it is fine to drive an automobile go into a bar that allows smoking, even though it might result in running over a pedestrian exposure to secondhand smoke.

    You get easier and easier as you get more and more agitated and defensive.

  • ||

    Rex,

    Referring to Jim Crow is not "bringing up the race card."

    Calling someone a racist is playing the race card. There is no reason to declare the subject of racism or segregation as a whole off-limits.

    You tried to imply that banning smoking is like banning segregation, and so that if you don't support smoking bans you must be racist.

    Wow. I don't know where you got that, but no, that's not even remotely close to my point.

    My subject was the relationship between bans and cultural change - banning segregation really did change people's minds, because they found out that living in an integrated society wasn't so terrible. Smoking bans changed people's minds in a similar manner - by providing people with the lived experience they hadn't had before, and the opportunity to realize that they liked it.

    Another example would be the collapse of the anti-gay-marriage movement in Massachusetts over the past four years. People's opinions actually have changed, because they lived in a gay-marrying state, and the sky didn't fall.

    Agree or not, that was my point. I didn't call anyone a racist, or even imply it.

  • ||

    Can we move on to a less heated topic like abortion?

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    Seriously, maybe you need reading glasses.

    I did answer the question x,y asked - in response to fyodor asking the same question, in my very next post on the subject.

    So, no, nice try. You really need to read a little better, because you keep doing this.

  • ||

    Bans with teeth happened because non-smokers disliked being around smokers in bars and restaurants. While they didn't mind smokers enough to actually stop going to establishments that allowed smoking, they minded enough to support laws to ban smoking in those places.

    That's all there is to it. Public health claims were just rationalizations for the simple truth that most non-smokers wanted the law brought to bear so they wouldn't smell tobacco smoke.


    Whatever the reason, if you're going to do business with the public, then you're going to have to do it on the public's terms.

  • ||

    One might consider it relevant that the presence of black people does not put irritants and materials linked to fatal diseases in the air breathed by those in their presence.



    No, it does not. But I am sure some racist "scientist" argued that it did something like that, back in the last century. There was plenty of racist pseudo-science that gave "scientific" evidence about how integration of the races was dangerous.

    The fact is, no one is ever going to admit that they want to legislate lifestyle choices for some personal reason - they are always going to try to promote their push to regulate people's lifestyles as being for the greater good.

    Since every aweful, oppressive law is based on "evidence" that "proves" it is in the public good, people tend to be very skeptical of your so-called "evidence" and your so-called "public good".

    If you are going to do something so drastic, as to disallow concenting adults from engaging in voluntary activities with each other, then you better have a damn compelling reason. An airtight, flawless, universally accepted reason, otherwise history might judge you the same way it judged the segregationists.

    Remember, you are the one telling other people how to live! Smokers aren't trying to prevent you from opening non-smoking bars and resteraunts. Smokers aren't trying to tell you that you have to accomidate them. Smokers simply want a place where concenting smokers and non-smokers can choose to socialize together. You are the one trying to forcably stop then from socalizing. You are the agressor in this case, and you had better be prepared to back up your agression.

  • ||

    That didn't even make sense, Episiarch.

    And yet you're congratulating yourself.

    Legend in your own mind.

  • ||

    Sometimes, people who actually look at data do know more than people who draw their information from their personal experience.

    This really has nothing to do with statism.


    I agree, joe. Sometimes researchers know more than businesspeople -- and sometimes they don't, as you admitted by using "sometimes".

    I agree that people knowing more than others isn't statism. Statism is when those people who may or may not be right try to force their theories upon others by depriving them of their property rights, freedom to associate, etc.

    Now, if you were arguing that private researchers not funded by compulsory theft of taxes should try to persuade business owners to go smoke-free without resorting to government force, I'd be all for that.

    But you're not.

    Because you think you're so smart, you feel that gives you and your other allegedly smart statist cohorts to tell us stupid dolts how to live our lives -- for our own good, of course.

    P.S. Calling someone a "bitch" when they advance arguments to refute your theories isn't generally the mark of an advanced intellect.

  • bromo98||

    Blatant Hijack:
    Y'know, joe, once in a while a rolled pair of dice turns up a 12, but it's still a lot smarter to bet on 1 through 11 cause that's what usually happens. um...I'll book the bet on '1' for a pair of dice, you name the bet and the odds.

  • ||

    Rex,

    The existince of bad science is a reason to reject bad science.

    It is not a reason to reject science as a whole.

    Quite a few racists have offered "scientific" evidence for opposing government aid to poor people from certain racial backgrounds. Are you sure you want to go down the road of tarring people with this logic?

  • ||

    Smokers simply want a place where concenting smokers and non-smokers can choose to socialize together. You are the one trying to forcably stop then from socalizing.

    Smoking bans relate to the activity of smoking, not the banishment of people who are smokers.

  • ||

    Another example would be the collapse of the anti-gay-marriage movement in Massachusetts over the past four years. People's opinions actually have changed, because they lived in a gay-marrying state, and the sky didn't fall.



    But you understand joe, that on this issue, you are the gay-marrage hater!! You are the one who wants to deny concenting adults the right to engage in concentual activities, based on some rather dubious evidence on how it is bad for society!

  • Episiarch||

    Sigh. joe, you pointed to something (driving) which has risks. Somehow, you thought this supported your overall point of supporting government disregard for property rights even though it can have negative consequences, and I merely pointed out that your example could be worded to support letting people choose their own risks by bringing it back to smoking.

    In fact, what you basically said, joe, was that "you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs". Risk is acceptable if the goals are noble enough.

    I guess your name is more accurate than I realized, Uncle joe.

  • iowan||

    joe, I'd like to thank you personally for taking a crap in our living room. One of you finest days in quite a while.

  • ||

    Well, prolefeed, that's a very nice statement of values.

    But that really wasn't the subject - the subject was, Do Anti-Smoking Activists Know the Restaurant Business Better Than Restaurateurs Do?

    Whether they do, or do not, on any particular question really has nothing to do with your values about the proper role of government.

    PS what "argument about my theories" was "advanced" by It seems that joe decides he wants to ignore the liberty and property rights issues at stake, then write another worthless post.

    I'm not seeing an argument. I'm not seeing anything about my theory. I'm seeing an asshole who was moved to personal invective because somebody dared to express an opinion contrary to his own. I save my intellect for higher sorts than him.

  • ||

    "Whatever the reason, if you're going to do business with the public, then you're going to have to do it on the public's terms."

    The "public's terms" are the consumers' collective choices. Opponents of the ban are part of the public sphere, too. Most smokers are willing to have some limits, but why can't there be at least a few establishments where food and alcohol can be prepared and served, wehre smokers can enjoy a smoke, too? Is it really too much to ask? Christ, why not set some sort of limit with a license application. Only 100 smoking licenses may be held in the city at any one time, and the businesses must bid for them. At the very least this would still give consumers options, and the businesses who felt allowing smoking was critical to their operation can pay to have the privilege.

  • ||

    Oh, prolefeed,

    You go and live your life however you want. I really don't care if you die of lung cancer.

    But if you blow smoke into my daughter's lungs, you'd better make sure your insurance is up to date.

  • ||

    ...if you're going to do business with the public, then you're going to have to do it on the public's terms.



    How about we let the "public" set its terms by letting each individual decide if he or she wishes to patronize the business?

  • ||

    Rex,

    Huh?

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    Uncle Joe?

    I couldn't possibly be your uncle.

    First of all, your mother kicked her sister out of bed before the foreplay was even finished.

    Secondly, you can't get a woman pregnant like that, no matter how many times she lets you do it in one night.

  • Episiarch||

    But if you blow smoke into my daughter's lungs, you'd better make sure your insurance is up to date.

    Considering how much smoke you're blowing, daddy, that seems a little hyperbolic.

    Amazing that you would resort to violence (force) based on no scientific support whatever.

    Oh, wait--you do that all the time, you just have the government do it for you.

  • ||

    iowan,

    I tried to have a discussion about the validity of the study that was blogged, and the ideas underlying the criticism of that study.

    It was not I who hurled the crap.

  • Episiarch||

    First of all, your mother kicked her sister out of bed before the foreplay was even finished.

    Secondly, you can't get a woman pregnant like that, no matter how many times she lets you do it in one night.


    joe, joe, joe, all class and no argument. You never disappoint.

    It would be entertaining to work with "But if you blow smoke into my daughter's lungs", but that's probably too easy...

  • ||

    But if you blow smoke into my daughter's lungs, you'd better make sure your insurance is up to date.
    joe, keep your daughter out of bars. Even without the smoke, there are drunk people and it's loud and basically not a place for infants.

  • ||

    Ah, denialism.

    No, there is not scientific evidence whatsoever that breathing second-hand smoke causes illnesses in children.

    None. Not asthma attacks, not allergies, not upper respiratory infections, nope, nothing. Nothing at all.

    Oh, wait, nevermind. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that it causes all of those things. Nevermind.

  • Who Flung Poo||

    It was not I. When I make joke, has to have new rhyme, because I have switched to Pepsi products.

  • ||

    Smoking bans are proposed as a way of reducing death and illness.

    OK, joe, let's go with your theory that the state has the right to impose any law that reduces death or illness. Are you in favor of:

    Banning fast food restaurants?

    Banning hang-gliding?

    Banning motorcycle riding?

    Banning mayonnaise?

    Banning refined sugar?

    Banning private automobiles, and mandating riding big, safe state-run buses?

    Mandating government-monitored compulsory exercise classes?

    Installing telescreens in every room so public safety officers can monitor you for deviant risk-taking behaviors?

    Banning socialism and statism and incremental increases in government controls due to their tendency to slide bit by bit into dictatorships that kill millions? Oh ... wait ... that conflicts with the above, yeah?

  • ||

    Of course, I used the word "children," so, by the non-Euclidean laws of logic that govern this site, I just lost the argument.

    So it goes.

  • ||

    The "public's terms" are the consumers' collective choices. Opponents of the ban are part of the public sphere, too. Most smokers are willing to have some limits, but why can't there be at least a few establishments where food and alcohol can be prepared and served, wehre smokers can enjoy a smoke, too? Is it really too much to ask? Christ, why not set some sort of limit with a license application. Only 100 smoking licenses may be held in the city at any one time, and the businesses must bid for them. At the very least this would still give consumers options, and the businesses who felt allowing smoking was critical to their operation can pay to have the privilege.

    Personally, I don't have a problem with restaurants that allow smoking, especially places that are geared towards adults and are geared more towards that type of atmosphere. If a smoking ban was proposed in my city, I'd be against it.

    But at the same time, I think that a community, via its elected leaders, does have the right to dictate the terms under which it will allow a public business to operate (health inspections being another example pertaining to restaurants). I think it's inaccurate to make the claim that a restaurant is "private" when its doors are open to the public. And as a member of the public, I'm glad that when I walk into a reastaurant that I'm unfamiliar with I can count on certain rules being followed.

  • Episiarch||

    Of course, I used the word "children," so, by the non-Euclidean laws of logic that govern this site, I just lost the argument.

    You lost a loooong time ago, joe. But you setting up your own way to bow out just adds to the entertainment.

  • ||

    prolefeed,

    Did Jennifer teach your English class?

    Where, pray tell, did I put forward a "theory that the state has the right to impose any law that reduces death or illness."

    Could you point me to that? Some other thread, maybe?

  • iowan||

    joe, you are a smart man and are quite capable of rational arguments. But you started out calling someone a bitch and your tone has gone downhill from that. All that is left is for you to repeat your sins from the past and starting making sexual jokes about people's mothers.

    You are capable of much better than you produced today.

  • Episiarch||

    Holy shit, Dan, I know you are an attention whore, but joe has totally occupied the troll space in this thread. There's no room for you.

  • ||

    Actually, Episiarch, no one had refuted a single fact I put forward, or demonstrated any illogic within any of my arguments.

    I'm not sure what criteria you use to judge who's winning an argument...but then again, evidence and logic have never been terribly important to you.

  • Jennifer||

    First of all, your mother kicked her sister out of bed before the foreplay was even finished. Secondly, you can't get a woman pregnant like that, no matter how many times she lets you do it in one night.

    Such rudeness, Joe! Sounds like you owe somebody an apology for that. Surely an intellectual giant like yourself can debate an issue without resorting to personal insults and whiny ad hominems.

  • ||

    Dan T (may I call you Dan?),

    I don't think the health inspection comparison is a good one. I support health inspections because there is no way for me to know whether or not my food has rat droppings in it. We need someone to come in and check it out. It is pretty clear, however, how to avoid smoke.

  • ||

    Holy shit, Dan, I know you are an attention whore, but joe has totally occupied the troll space in this thread. There's no room for you.

    joe's letting you guys get to him. A thick skin is necessary for trolling, I've found.

  • ||

    iowan,

    I reply in kind to the respect with which I am treated, and I don't apologize for that.

    I was as respectful to fyodor as we was to me.

    And ditto with the lesser intellects.

  • Episiarch||

    Actually, Episiarch, no one had refuted a single fact I put forward, or demonstrated any illogic within any of my arguments.

    Sigh. No, joe, you just ignored those that did and refused to discuss the core components of property rights and freedom of association.

    I feel sorry for your daughter. Having an emotion-ruled authoritarian with no respect for individual rights for a father must suck balls.

  • ||

    Actually, Episiarch, I replied to every substantive point addressed to me.

    Go back through the thread.

  • ||

    Goddam, joe. Who pissed in your corn flakes this morning? You're short tempered, foul posts do NOT reflect well on you.

  • iowan||

    First of all, your mother kicked her sister out of bed before the foreplay was even finished. Secondly, you can't get a woman pregnant like that, no matter how many times she lets you do it in one night.

    I'm glad I stopped reading joe's comments before I saw that. However, it makes my last point somewhat obsolete.

    joe has hit the trifecta today.

  • ||

    Dan T (may I call you Dan?),

    Sure.


    I don't think the health inspection comparison is a good one. I support health inspections because there is no way for me to know whether or not my food has rat droppings in it. We need someone to come in and check it out. It is pretty clear, however, how to avoid smoke.


    I didn't mean to compare the two as much as to present health inspections as another example of a condition that the public has put on anybody operating a restaurant.

    I think most libertarians would begrudingly agree with both of us that such inspections are necessary, but if you follow the logic of "it's private property so I can do what I want" then you'd have to say that only the market can decide which resturants are serving tainted food.

    Some people probably do think that, but once again as a member of the eating public I'm glad I don't have to find out firsthand if the food I'm being served will kill me.

  • ||

    "...Not asthma attacks, not allergies, not upper respiratory infections, nope, nothing. Nothing at all."

    Any airborne irritant can cause those problems. vehicle exhaust, cement dust, perfume, and on and on...

  • iowan||

    I reply in kind to the respect with which I am treated, and I don't apologize for that.

    That has been your claimed defense in the past. However, I believe that you are frequenctly the first to cross the line into ad hominem attacks, and then quickly escalate into to some mode of mutually assured destruction.

    Your behavior has been disgraceful today, and you bring no honor to your side's position in this matter.

  • ||

    Dan,
    Like I said, I support health inspections but I think the argument from the "health inspections violate private property" people would be that any restaurant that did not have their restaurant inspected would soon go out of business because sane people would think "what are they hiding? i'm not eating there". As for "killing you", well there are laws against that.

  • Episiarch||

    Actually, Episiarch, I replied to every substantive point addressed to me.

    You refused--multiple times--to discuss the issues of property rights and freedom of association. You were asked this by multiple posters, including myself.

    Lie to yourself if you want, joe, but you're not fooling anyone else.

    You're also not impressing anyone with your invective, support for government ability to do things like Jim Crow, and your usual smugness and condescension taken to new heights.

  • ||

    I would venture to say that inspections AREN'T necessary. *adjusting my LibertarianEconTheorist hat*
    Wouldn't the threat of a bad reputation from customers getting sick be enough to encourage business owners to play it safe? Inspections are so few and far between anyway, I would also venture that it's market forces keeping 95% of businesses in check as it stands now.

  • ||

    I usually get this sort of tut-tutting about my tone when no one can muster substantive rebuttals to my arguments.

    iowan,

    I'm sorry about your delicate sensibilities, although I'm glad that they aren't the slighest bit offended by seeing someone accused of defending Jim Crow and being a Stalinist.

  • ||

    iowan,

    First, what "side's position" am I arguing? Am I reflecting poorly on the "I don't have strong feelings either way?"

    Second, go back through the posts, and let me know who starts the personal attacks on whom.

  • fyodor||

    Well, fyodor, at least you've gotten to the point of admitting that it is possible for businessowners to wrongly predict the consequences of government actions that effect their businesses. That's a good start.

    There seem to be quite a few people who think it is literally impossible.


    I admitted as much much earlier. But as I've also said before, so what? You go with the best odds, and the best odds are with the people who are making decisions about their own lives (whether in regards to running a business or ANY other pursuit) knowing better what's best for them than any ostensible expert. That's what reason and experience show. Now, will this hold true in EVERY possible instance? Of course not. Actually, nothing does. The hardest of sciences are based on probability. But that hardly matters because only a fool goes with the exception instead of the rule. (Hey, I like that!)

  • ||

    You know, guys and gal, with just a couple of more pushes maybe we can get joe to boycott H&R.

    Hell it's worth a try.

    Joe, the juvenile behaviour you are displaying indicates that your parents did a poor job of rearing you! Perhaps they should have attended mandatory parenting classes for the good of their offspring.

  • ||

    I'm seeing an asshole who was moved to personal invective because somebody dared to express an opinion contrary to his own.

    joe wins the thread for pwning himself!

    Care for some iron(y) supplements, joe?

  • ||

    JasonC, I think in this case I'm not so much defending smoking bans as being a good idea (like I said, I'd vote against one in my town) but rather I think that a community has the right to issue them if they choose.

    I think that the argument regarding property rights works in the case of true private property (homes, private clubs, etc.) but not when the public is a party in a commerece situation. You might say that the government represents the public at the bargaining table and thus can set conditions under which it will take part in the commerece.

  • Episiarch||

    I usually get this sort of tut-tutting about my tone when no one can muster substantive rebuttals to my arguments.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    This from the guy whose best response was that he assfucked my aunt several times in one night*?

    joe, please continue down the self-delusion path, because this is getting to be popcorn time.

    * props for the assfucking bit, though, I liked that

  • ||

    fyodor,

    You go with the best odds when you have to take a gamble - that is, when the actual results are cannot be known.

    When the dice have been thrown, you read the dice. If this study demonstrates no (or a negative) correlation between smoking bans and economic decline in restaurants, then what is the point of talking about who you would consider more believeable when you have to guess?

    Noting that restaurant owners know more about running a restaurant than do smoking activists, in general, and explaining why this might be so, is not the slightest bit useful in figuring out whether this study is or is not valid.

    It's just an appeal to authority fallacy.

  • ||

    Don't ask me why I can't spell "commerce".

  • ||

    BTW, I can't help but notice that the people who were able to produce thoughtful, logical posts about facts and ideas continue to write thoughtful, logical posts about facts and ideas.

    While those who could not are talking about what a terrible person I am.

  • iowan||

    Second, go back through the posts, and let me know who starts the personal attacks on whom.

    It seems that joe decides he wants to ignore the liberty and property rights issues at stake, then write another worthless post.

    An attack on your writings, not your person.

    Why would I possibly be interested in replying to you, bitch?

    The first ad hominem attack of the thread, with vulgarity no less.

    You started this hissy-fit today. Go home and come back when you can behave yourself.

    I'm out of here.

  • ||

    I sort of hope that joe's performance here will cause folks to cut me a little more slack.

    I mean, at least I only piss you off by disagreeing with you, right?

  • Episiarch||

    While those who could not are talking about what a terrible person I am.

    Have you ever met someone who just could not admit that they were wrong or overreacted--not ever? If so, then you better realize that you are the same as that person. If not, look in the mirror and you will meet that person.

    It is a very ugly character trait, joe, and you have it in spades. I assume your wife and daughter are always wrong, too, right? You must be a peach to be around.

  • carrick||

    I sort of hope that joe's performance here will cause folks to cut me a little more slack.

    You frequently play the class clown, annoying but not abusive ;-)

  • Episiarch||

    I sort of hope that joe's performance here will cause folks to cut me a little more slack.

    That's a 5%-er, Dan. Good one.

  • ||

    Cool, reset my bad post allowance back to 19, please.

  • ||

    Of course, I used the word "children," so, by the non-Euclidean laws of logic that govern this site, I just lost the argument.

    When someone brings up Teh Children TM, it's pretty much like trotting out Hitler and the Nazis, trying to get an emotional reaction to short-circuit the discussion.

    The Honolulu Advertiser had an article about charity fundraising scams recently, and the three worst charity scams -- the ones where the payout to actual recipients of aid were all well under 10% of the money raised -- were also the three outfits with the word "Children" in their title.

    joe, nice try, using semantics to duck answering my query at 4:11 about what other risk behaviors you support having the government ban in order to increase health and safety -- now, care to go through the list and point out which bans you favor and which you oppose?

  • ||

    That's a 5%-er, Dan. Good one.

    Episiarch, by my calcul;ations, Dan T. has been OK at an unheard of rate approx. 6.2% lately. Small improvements should be noted.

  • fyodor||

    When the dice have been thrown, you read the dice. If this study demonstrates no (or a negative) correlation between smoking bans and economic decline in restaurants, then what is the point of talking about who you would consider more believeable when you have to guess?

    Well, as you may have noticed, there appears to be a dispute over what the data show. Personally, the price to profit ratio strikes me as particuarly irrelevant (and I was scratching my head already when I initially thought Sullum was using this to back HIS argument). Now maybe that's cause I'm no expert in statistical analysis, but to take Glantz's interpretation of the data as fact is every bit as much of an appeal to authority, only to a less reliable one.

    Now, maybe you'll say you're not doing that and can I point to your specific words where you say that, but that's the implication of where your argument is going. If that's not your point, then I don't know what the point is of your line of argument.

  • ||

    "An attack on your writings, not your person."

    You're working a little too hard to not see that as a personal insult.

  • carrick||

    You're working a little too hard to not see that as a personal insult.

    Saying "that post was full of shit" is not the same as saying "you stupid cunt".

    Ideas are fair game, people are not. First rule of vigorous debate.

  • ||

    What do you suppose would happen if I walked in a restaurant with a small aerosol bottle of carbon monoxide, some various combustion products of plant material, and various other things. Is that still personal liberty just because I want to do it?

    Restaurant profits and personal liberties do NOT override public health, restaurants are already subject to numerous other public health regulations, they are not completely private in operation. Claiming that a business has the right to permit smoking because they are privately owned is akin to saying they have a right to permit spoiled food to be served as long as patrons keep coming.

    And besides that, what makes you think smokers have the right to smoke in a restaurant as if that were the default? Why is it up to everyone else to go elsewhere if they don't like smoking?

  • Paul||

    Lee Iacocca, certianly no intellectual slouch, testified before Congress that banning leaded gasoline would result in the elimination of the automobile manufacturing industry by 1975. The environmental activists and the majority of Congressmen who passed the ban disagreed with him.

    You've made a good point, here, joe. I never run away from a good point, even if I might impale myself upon it.

    You are very correct-- the automobile industry has fought tooth-and-nail every safety and environmental regulation suggested, fearmongering that it'll be the end of bidness as they know it. Any libertarian who ignores this is dishonest.

    While it can be argued that the smoking ban is the same, it's got some subtle but important differences.

    For one, no one tried to ban automobiles. I know this isn't in direct contrast to what's going on with smoking, but it's informative. Also, the regulations were primarily targeted at the manufacturers, not the consumer. In the case of smoking bans, the regulation affects the consumers-- it targets the behavior of the people on the street. More accurately, it forces private establishments to regulate the behavior of their customer. Also, big corporations like GM are capitalists the way Hillary Clinton is a capitalist: Not very. They're interested in economic protection, not economic freedom. What I'm getting at is that Lee Iacoca didn't want to retool his factories, period. Iacoca was fearing he'd have to upgrade his factories into bankruptcy. In the case of the restaurant, they're voicing an arguably legitimate fear that they're being forced to make changes which will eliminate customers.

    It's probably hard to say what restaurants have lost money or which have improved their bottom lines. As we all very well know, there are always the pointy-headed customers who won't go anywhere a cigarette might be lit. They'll see an uptick from those customers...maybe. There are places where people want to smoke-- bars that cater to a more working class crowd-- who have seen dramatic decreases in clientele. There are restaurants which were already smoke free which should see no increase or decrease in bottom line attributable to the smoking ban.

    I might tend to agree with you that the situations were comparable, if by enacting a smoking ban, restaraunts would have to retool their industry. This outcry from restaurants comes from a more honest fear that by not allowing customers to do something they want to do, they'll go home and do it instead.

  • ||

    "What do you suppose would happen if I walked in a restaurant with a small aerosol bottle of carbon monoxide, some various combustion products of plant material, and various other things. Is that still personal liberty just because I want to do it?"

    Uh, no. The proprietor has a right to dictate what a patron can and can't do. Just like a proprietor should have the right to dictate if patrons can smoke or not.

    "Claiming that a business has the right to permit smoking because they are privately owned is akin to saying they have a right to permit spoiled food to be served as long as patrons keep coming."

    Again, no. The argument is flawed because you're comparing something a patron of a restaurant can or can't do against something a proprietor can't do. Those are two totally different things.

  • ||

    The existence of regulations does not justify more regulation.

    Most of the regulations pertaining to health relate to things that are not immediately obvious or hidden, and can have extreme consequences from just a single exposure.

    It's easy to tell if a place allows smoking. Anti-smokers first complaint and first justification for smoking bans is the (their words) "stench". You can smell it, you can see people lighting up, you can see ashtrays, you can see cigarette machines, etc.

    Not only that, but even if you didn't know that there was smoking and happened to be exposed to it, you won't die or get sick.

    The same cannot be said for all aspects of food preparation. Can you see the food being prepared? Do you know what temperature the food is being held at? Do you know if the cook washed their hands?
    Each of these can contribute to contamination or bacteria, exposure to which can cause sickness and even death from just a single exposure.

    The difference in severity and obviousness is substantial; and by extension, so the justification for regulation of one over the other.

    All this talk from the anti-smoking crowd about the viability of non-smoking establishments really takes the wind out of the sails of their claims that government regulation is needed.

    If non-smoking establishments are so viable, why aren't the anti-smoking groups asking their members to pool their resources and open some and up and reap the rewards from the oppressed non-smokers who've been forced to go into smoking establishments?

    The answer:it's always easier to put your mouth where someone else's money is then to put your money where your mouth is. The fact that these non/anti-smokers would never use their own money to open a non-smoking establishment speaks volumes.

  • ||

    As for the "majority rules" aspect of some of these anti-smoking crusades:

    It seems fairly obvious that carni/omnivores outnumber the vegetarians by a substantial margin.

    Is it OK for "the people" to ban restaurants and/or grocery stores that don't sell meat? I'm sure that some pathetic, six degress attenuated health concern could be manufactured to justify it?

    What about restaurants that serve rare meat? Surely that can have health concerns, why can't that be banned? What about 7 dollar drinks, loud music, artificial fog? Each of these can probably have some health concerns attached to it...

    One excellent metric for any business owners is profit. If people come in and buy and profit is good, that's a pretty good indicator that the business is operating nicely. Why would a business owner "fix" something that's not broken?

  • Glen Quagmire||

    *gets blindsided by this whirlwind, mega-mondo confusing thread*

    Gaggidy? Did I just get laid?????

    *looks around in puzzled amazement*

  • ||

    "Saying "that post was full of shit" is not the same as saying "you stupid cunt".... First rule of vigorous debate."

    Calling someone's post, opinion, etc. "full of shit" goes just a wee tad beyond vigorous debate. That's well into the realm of childish name calling.

    Which is not to say that joe didn't escalate with "bitch" (and he would have earned valuable style points by using "biznatch" or some other variant).

  • fyodor||

    "Claiming that a business has the right to permit smoking because they are privately owned is akin to saying they have a right to permit spoiled food to be served as long as patrons keep coming."

    I'd go along with that, actually, let the customers (aka the market) decide. But the reason it's a silly analogy is that if a restaurant consistently serves spoiled food, patrons would NOT keep coming! Nobody seeks out restaurants with spoiled food! But there ARE people who LIKE to go to bars and restaurants to smoke! Really!! Just because you're not one of them (and neither am I) does not mean they don't exist! Huge difference.

  • ||

    And besides that, what makes you think smokers have the right to smoke in a restaurant as if that were the default?

    Because the business owner has communicated to its patrons, either through language or behavior, "smoking is permitted here." Just like the strip club owner who says "neekid ladies are OK, just don't touch 'em."

    Implicit in that statement is for the non-smoker who doesn't wish to encounter this situation to piss off and go elsewhere.

    It's that or come on in, but don't complain about something you knew was already going on when you came in.

  • ||

    I don't know how it works in iowa, but where I'm from, calling what someone says "worthless" is, believe it or not, considered insulting.

    Episiarch,

    I was not wrong, however hurt your feelings are. Neither you, nor anyone else, has shown me to be wrong. So I have nothing to admit.

    As opposed to when I deal with my wife and daughter, when I am frequently wrong. And have no trouble admitting it.

  • ||

    BTW, I can't help but notice that the people who were able to produce thoughtful, logical posts about facts and ideas continue to write thoughtful, logical posts about facts and ideas.

    I just want to know if joe is actually working today or if this is his day off? It took me several hours just to read this thread; I cannot imagine anyone who participated as vigorously as joe did, did any real urban planning today.

  • fyodor||

    joe,

    These dogs don't seem to stop yapping when you swat 'em on the nose! Kinda like the Iraqi insurgency? :-)

    Meanwhile the rest of us get to be bored by discussions of manners!

  • ||

    My favorite aspect of the whole smoking ban debate is the ruse that ban supporters adopt with respect to "public health." As pointed out, if these people actually cares about PUBLIC health, prohibiting smokers from having an indoor place to congregate would not be on their agenda.

    They just hate smoking (oh, and "big tobacco") and they want to punish people who smoke. When Mass. put in a smoking ban, one very popular place actually had a sign requiring smokers to be 50 feet from the door. 10 feet from the same door was a busy bus stop. Diesel fumes OK, second hand smoke, oh my god NO. By the way, joe, if you walk your daughter in an urban area you are already putting far more harmful toxins in her lungs than if a smoker blew smoke in her face. Shouldnt you be banning auto-fumes too?

    On the economic front, my local bar will likely close due to the recent enactment of a smoking ban. There has not been a line of non-smokers all of a sudden clamoring to get in - the idea that people wanted to come there (as opposed to all the other nearby bars) but didnt because of the smoke is stupid. And the smokers who used to go there are staying home. That owner and his employees will pay the price for people like joe's irrational hatred of something others wish to do that he thinks is bad.

    So joe, find me one person definitely harmed by second hand smoke in bars - you cant. But I can show you three people definitely hurt by your intolerance.

  • VM||

    hang on a sec. joe has not stated that he's in favor of the ban.

    he began the thread by considering methodologies and mechanisms...

    filter out everything but his and Fyodor's discussion.

  • ||

    prolefeed,

    I get the thing about Teh Children, and I agree. I was making a little joke there. I hope you recognize the difference between what I wrote, and and appeal to "Do it for the children."

    Second, it was not semantics, it was a substantive point - acknowledging that it is appropriate for the government to intervene in some cases is not, as you asserted I was saying, a blanket authorization "the state has the right to impose any law that reduces death or illness."

    No, it doesn't. However, that is a legitimate goal for policymakers (like us, and our elected representatives, and the people they hire to carry out our decisions) to take into account, and weight against other goals.

    Would it surprise you that my answer to your question is None? I wouldn't support any of those things.

  • ||

    fyodor,

    Well, as you may have noticed, there appears to be a dispute over what the data show.

    And that's the point of my comment - let's talk about that. Look at the data, the assumptions, and the process (as Sullum did in most of his post, and I did in most of my initial post). The demogoguing headline doesn't do the debate any good.

  • ||

    Paul,

    Good post, substantive and thoughtful. Let me respond:

    For one, no one tried to ban automobiles.

    No one has tried to ban restaurants, either. Like the ban on leaded gasoline in cars, the ban on smoking in bars doesn't touch the core functions of the industry - it just eliminates one noxious practice with discernable health effects.

    Also, the regulations were primarily targeted at the manufacturers, not the consumer. And smoking bans target restaurant owners.

    In the case of smoking bans, the regulation affects the consumers-- it targets the behavior of the people on the street. In the case of leaded gas bans, the regulation affects the consumers to the same degree. The bar won't let you smoke, the gas station won't let you buy leaded gas.

    More accurately, it forces private establishments to regulate the behavior of their customer. Well, on the one hand, restaurant owners will have to be more active in enforcing behavior in his establishment, while gas station owners simply stopped selling a product. On the other hand, enforcing codes of behavior among the patrons, such as laws against prostitution or battery, is already part of operating a place of public accommodation, so we're not really talking about putting business owners in a new enforcement position.

    As for your last point, I'm not sure how to read it. If you are claiming that the restaurant owners are making their predictions of economic harm in good faith, while the Big Three weren't, I'm not sure I agree. The Big Three really did seem to think that they would lose business.

  • ||

    Brendan Perez,

    You must admit, producing pollution that others will take into their bodies is bit different than simply buying or sellings things that others don't like, in a manner that doesn't involve them at all.

  • ||

    Sparky's right, I totally should have spelled it "bee-atch."

  • ||

    swillfredo,

    I haven't done urban planning for two years.

    And I got a pretty good amount of work done.

  • ||

    Skallagrim,

    I don't, in fact, live in Calcutta, so no, walking in an urban area is not remotely comparable to sitting in a smoky room.

    Seriously, don't you have a nose? Can't you tell that there is a difference in air quality between a smoky room and the outdoors, even in a city?

    As for your point about the alleged harm of walking by a group of people smoking, are you familiar with the concepts of volume and diffusion? 50 cigarettes' worth of smoke per hour being blown around outdoors vs 50 cigarettes' worth of smoke per hour collecting in an enclosed room - not even close which one is going to be more smoky.

    Not to mention that people walking past a group of smokers are exposed to the smoke for about six seconds, while people in a smoky bar are inhaling that air for however long they stay in the bar.

  • fyodor||

    Well, joe, I'm not a statistician, though I've already expressed how I don't see any value to this selling-price/profit ratio. Anyway, we got to where we are now as a result of your starting off the thread with certain comments and my responding to them, and so on from there. Imperfect information is a fact of life, but it doesn't tell me why restaurateurs are less able to digest what information is now available than others. And let's look it at this way: sure, there is always a possibility that forcing someone to do something against their will be in fact good for them. But don't you think that's generally very unlikely? I find it an abhorrent idea to hang one's position on, ever, even if, like a stopped clock, it turns out to be true sometimes. It smacks of disengenuousness. Better smoking ban advocates should admit some restaurants will go under and many others suffer to some degree oh but it's worth it. Of course, then they'd have to admit that some workers will have no job instead of a healthier one. (There, I'm acknowledging that health was the motivation behind the campaign!) Y'know, Frank Zappa's voice was lowered considerably which considerably increased his commercial appeal after some nut pushed him off a stage into some chairs which smashed his head. I don't think this implies any principle worth following!

    Also, I don't believe you ever responded to my critique of your "Mexican standoff" answer.

  • ||

    BTW, Skellagrim, we do have laws about car emissions.

    It just occured to me - the statement about air quality, the statement about "banning car emissions" - you're posting from 1962, aren't you?

    That must explain all the smoking!

    I keed, I keed.

  • ||

    fyodor,

    I'm not claiming that it is a good idea to regulate behavior in a paternalistic fashion, eg, to ban smoking in restaurants because business owners don't understand their own self interest. Heck, I don't even believe in bans, such as the ban on smoking crack, when the person engaging the behavior is demonstrably, plaining not acting according to his best interest!

    For a regulation to be justified, it must avoid some harm to someone else. For example, it might be ok to ban smoking to protect customers from being harmed by other people's smoking, just like any other environmental regulation.

    It has never been my purpose to argue that it is plainly in every restaurant owner's interest to ban smoking, or even in the interest of the restaurant industry in the aggregate. My point is that one common argument against smoking bans - that they will hurt restaurant owners - is apparently not supported by the data. While there might be good criticisms of this study, the "rule of thumb" you mention about local vs. professional expertise is not one of those good criticisms.

  • ||

    I'm not convinced that people--business owners being an example of people--necessarily have a legal responsibility to do what's in the best interest of society.

    If we all had to justify our own personal choices in terms of what's best for everybody...

    I don't care if rock & roll is bad for society. ...or race mixing or strip bars or motorcycles or sex outside of marriage or providing a place for smokers to get something to eat. Maybe all those things are great for society--either way, I don't care. None of them should prohibited by government.

    I'm always happy to hear that what some people think is bad for society is really good--I really am. ...but I think we paint ourselves into a corner with that sometimes.

    I don't care if gun ownership increases the rate of violent crime. ...I'm not saying it does; I'm saying that even if it does, I still have a right to a gun so long as I don't use it irresponsibly. To me, if that's good for society, then that's just icing on the cake.

  • ||

    Hmm, you're right, I didn't respond to that.

    I think you're right - the Mexican standoff model doesn't seem to apply.

  • ||

    hang on a sec. joe has not stated that he's in favor of the ban...filter out everything but his and Fyodor's discussion.


    Or the at least...

    ...uhhhhh...

    two comments not in direct response to joe.

  • ||

    Brendan Perez,

    You must admit, producing pollution that others will take into their bodies is bit different than simply buying or sellings things that others don't like, in a manner that doesn't involve them at all.


    Sure, there is a difference. But, given that both can be equally avoided and/or sought out, it's an irrelevant one.

    If there were a place that people were forced to go that allowed smoking and non-smokers complain, I'd be first to suggest it be stopped. A courthouse would be an example.

    But, if you have a choice to go or not, then it's a nonissue.
    Don't like smoking? Think it's a health concern? Don't go to places that allow smoking.
    Don't like loud music? Think it's bad for your ears? Don't go to places that play loud music.
    Allergic to peanuts? Believe it's a matter of life and death? Don't go to places that use/sell/serve peanuts.
    Don't like seeing naked/topless women? Think it's a plague on society? Don't go to places that allow naked/topless women.

    You have a choice to enter establishments that allow smoking. Use it.

  • fyodor||

    I think you're right - the Mexican standoff model doesn't seem to apply.

    Thank you for admitting that.

    My point is that one common argument against smoking bans - that they will hurt restaurant owners - is apparently not supported by the data. While there might be good criticisms of this study, the "rule of thumb" you mention about local vs. professional expertise is not one of those good criticisms.

    Not supported by the data according to anti-smoking activists, that is. And you haven't explained why the fact that lower profits can result in a higher selling-price/profit ratio debunks that as a useful statistic.

    Anyway, since "imperfect information" does not adequately explain why restaurateurs would be opposing smoking bans if the data indeed show that smoking bans are good for the restaurant business, we would simply be left with no satisfying explanation for why restaurateurs are shooting themselves in the foot this way. N'est pas?

  • iowan||

    I don't know how it works in iowa, but where I'm from, calling what someone says "worthless" is, believe it or not, considered insulting.

    Yes it hurts to have your ideas so thoroughly savaged, and we feel so very sorry that your little feelings were damaged.

    But still there are non-trivial differences between saying your last post was worthless versus all your ideas are worthless versus you personally are worthless.

    And calling someone a bitch because they said your last post was worthless may be acceptable practice out there on the east coast, but it is well outside the boundaries of acceptable practice here in the heartland.

    And your occasional forays in sexual insults starts putting into play the whole question of whether you are or are not personally worthless.

  • ||

    Brendan,

    Ah, there's the rub!

    They are not equally avoidable.

    I can go into a restaurant that sells meat and order a salad.

    I cannot go into a smoky restaurant and sit in a bubble of fresh air. My "choice" is to breathe the smoke, or not go inside.

    When 3/4 of the establishments in a Jim Crow-era town were verboten to black people, did their ability to enter the other 1/4 void their claim of being oppressed? In other words, was it only the businessowners who were oppressed under Jim Crow, or were black would-be customers oppressed, too?

    Of course, the latter.

    Now, you can claim that people are not being coerced out of entering smoky restaurants, but I ask you: are there any other areas where you would claim that using noxious chemicals to influence people's behavior against their will is consistent with principles of consensual choice?

    Now, of course, one can rightfully use coercion to keep people from entering one's home. And, of course, one cannot rightfully use coercion to keep people from going into a public street (unless you're the government, the street's owner).

    The issue, as I see it, is the legal status of "places of public accomodation." Some would claim that government regulation in those places should be comparable to a private home. Others, who dismmiss the private ownership of property entirely, claim that it should be comparablel to a public park. Most people consider them to occupy some middle ground.

  • skoal||

    Exhaust from a 2007 Honda Civic is harmless. Well... compared to cigarettes anyway.

  • ||

    fyodor,

    Anyway, since "imperfect information" does not adequately explain why restaurateurs would be opposing smoking bans if the data indeed show that smoking bans are good for the restaurant business

    Wait a second...what? If the restaurant owners believe that the ban will hurt their business, and they are wrong, then imperfect information does explain why they would be opposed.

  • ||

    iowan (who was supposed to be out of here quite some time ago),

    Yes it hurts to have your ideas so thoroughly savaged I wouldn't know. I'll take your word for it.

    Anyway, you should probably stay there. Where it's safe from the scary people.

  • ||

    Joe says " cannot go into a smoky restaurant and sit in a bubble of fresh air. My "choice" is to breathe the smoke, or not go inside."

    But is anyone forcing you to go to a restaurant that allows smoking?

    Go to one that doesn't. I'm sure there are many more that wouldn't than ones that would.

  • skoal||

    I just don't suffer fools gladly on any day.

    Heh.

    All you need to do now is suggest that someone read some book or research paper before the embarrass themselves further.

    The transformation is almost complete.

  • fyodor||

    are there any other areas where you would claim that using noxious chemicals to influence people's behavior against their will is consistent with principles of consensual choice?

    Smokers and/or restaurant owners who allow smoking are "using noxious chemicals to influence people's behavior against their will"? I don't get that joe. If a smoker blows smoke directly in someone else's in face to get them to go away, that would seem to fit what you're describing, but that's not what happens when someone lights up!

    The issue, as I see it, is the legal status of "places of public accomodation." Some would claim that government regulation in those places should be comparable to a private home. Others, who dismmiss the private ownership of property entirely, claim that it should be comparablel to a public park. Most people consider them to occupy some middle ground.

    You make the "middle ground" position sound so reasonable when contrasting it with positions that are even more ridiculous. I think the important issue here is consent, and I don't see how restaurant owners have somehow automatically given their consent to others to have a say in who gets to go on their property when they open a restaurant.

  • ||

    fyodor,

    When a restaurant owner allows 100 people to smoke in his bar, he is making the decision that everyone in that bar is, in fact, going to breathing air roughly equivalent to having someone blow smoke in your face.

    Let's say a courthouse had air quality comparable to that bar. Would people who cannot enter without suffering ill effects, and who then "choose" not to go to court, be denied their rights?

    I don't see how restaurant owners have somehow automatically given their consent to others to have a say in who gets to go on their property when they open a restaurant.

    Well, that's because you don't recognize the legal concept "place of public accomodation." Othe people don't recognize why living in a society makes a party to a social contract. And still others don't recognize that walking into a place that is "open to the public" means they have given their consent to have substances they don't like introduced into their bodies.

    All of these "consents" are implied.

  • ||

    fyodor,

    You appear to agree that it is a ridiculous position to claim that the government should have no more power to regulate what happens in a restaurant than what happens in a private home.

    On what basis do you make this distinction?

  • ||

    "You appear to agree that it is a ridiculous position to claim that the government should have no more power to regulate what happens in a restaurant than what happens in a private home."

    Some of the Ad Council like advertisements I've heard lately urge people not to smoke in apartment buildings or in their homes.

    How would you feel about a smoking ban in homes with children?

    Should parents be allowed to take their kids into a restaurant that allows smoking?

    I can imagine plausible arguments for laws in those cases--but I can't see why the law should treat the rest of us like children.

  • ||

    Ken,

    I would oppose a ban on smoking in homes. I believe, very strongly, that the government's right to regulate what happens in private homes is much less than its right to regulate what happens in places of public accommodation.

    I also believe that parents have the right, to a very great extent bordering on "imminent threat to life and limb," to make health decisions for their children.

  • iowan||

    Anyway, you should probably stay there. Where it's safe from the scary people.

    You don't scare me joe.

    How about another thought experiment.

    There are few online resources where a libertarian can go to discuss the nuances of libertarian philosophy with other libertarian-leaning people. Reason happens to be one of the best ones I have found.

    Yet most of the times I go there, I have sort through all the bullshit spouted by an arrogant, ill-mannered prick that thinks he has some fundamental right to pollute the environment of my favorite blog.

    But what the hell. Reason is a private enterprise, and if they want to let you in then so be it.

  • ||

    Why do we need smoking bans if affordable technology exists to clear the air of smoke. If filtration machines can protect welders from the smoke generated by welding galvanized steel indoors that can kill in an hour, they can protect bartenders from cigarette smoke.

    http://www.air-quality-eng.com/

  • ||

    I haven't done urban planning for two years.

    So I was right, you didn't get any urban planning done today.

    And I got a pretty good amount of work done.

    Don't kid a kidder. Between this thread and Hugo Chavez's apparent involvement in WWII I bet you have 5,000 words.

  • ||

    "I also believe that parents have the right, to a very great extent bordering on "imminent threat to life and limb," to make health decisions for their children."

    They're okay to put their children in danger, but not themselves?

  • ||

    I believe, very strongly, that the government's right to regulate what happens in private homes is much less than its right to regulate what happens in places of public accommodation.

    That's where the difference is between you and I, as well as you and most libertarians. Just because someone owns a place of business that is open to the public should not mean that they should be subject to regulation by the lowest common denominator. Whether it is anti-smokers or anti-nudity prudes, the owner of the property should have the last say.

  • ||

    Ken,

    I didn't say that parents shouldn't be able to smoke, or to go into places that allow smoking.

  • ||

    swillfredo,

    Hugo Chavez overran the Manginot Line last night.

  • ||

    The author misses the larger point. In accepting Governments are simply being duped by poor information we have to first consider the origins of the anti smoker campaign was those same governments. Nations referred to as participating controlled states, who signed the World Health Organization treaty, which predated the campaign.

    Further the same WHO promotion of a corruption process known as an HIA Health Intervention sought out conflicted funds. The gathering of partners or Stakeholders, who will invest in a campaign with profitability protected, for those investments at the tax payers expense. Governments are investing in coercion and domination of free speech in a huge public purchase of politics. Libertarians rather kindly described as social engineering, turning the population upon itself incredibly punishing consumers for use of a legal product while ignoring the conniving dragon, said to be the Tobacco Industry.

    The traveling sideshow moved around the planet selling boilerplate rhetoric which politicians dutifully echoed. So obviously, little to do with public opinion or protecting anything beyond the profits of stakeholders. This reeks of Fascist impositions in tune with the participants of the WHO, another UN agency notorious in its level of failure, Nepotism and Industry partnered corruption.

    This is fraud on an unprecedented scale.

    For the Nay Sayers; explain why it was a necessary part of the campaign to redefine the term "Public Places" If this was a worker safety issue alone why would that move be necessary when workplace safety standards were already in place?

    The redefinition was necessary to take the property rights away from the owners of that property. Necessary to promote bans under the fear [also invented] of casual exposures. Not long term but casual exposures, directing the actions of patrons to fear each other regardless of the owner's wishes or any stretch of scientific credibility.

    Smoking sections initially existed only to consider the wishes of people who did not like the smell of smoke. Fear was not a predominant motivator at that time.

    Lowering "Casual exposures" in a linear perspective, would not improve health effect or decrease, to even a minor degree, the level of diseases or mortality associated with the so called smoking related diseases.

    Moderation would be the message which would have found beneficial effect; "no safe level" opens us up to a whole new set of hazardous effects.

    It doesn't take a lot of education or intelligence to understand that; if there was ever a genuine will to improve the lot of others more predominant than the will to improve the lot of the self important stakeholders.

  • ||

    It's implausible that anti-smoking activists would know more about a given business's bottom line than the owner does,

    How so? After all, anti-smoking activists know what's better for everybody.

  • ||

    In application of population norms we see; Red means stop amber is caution green is a go. No cyclist or pedestrians signs at expressway entrances seemed to get the message across. When ordering a coffee, contemplating a donut to go with it? The sign at the cash indicates nuts may be included, allowing choice once again. At the same shop a no smoking sign and a smoking section sign beside the garbage bins at the rear of the building, speaks volumes as to value of patrons. Smokers business is obviously not treasured those with nut allergies are more important, the language is clear and choice is also evident.

    With simplistic methods we can find our way in most situations, however when smoking is involved Non smokers seem to have a huge problem differentiating between "smoking allowed" and "no smoking allowed" posted on the front door. This choice seems to indicate inexplicably someone is being forced to inhale smoke.

    The potential deadly effects of second hand smoke are nowhere near the potential deadly effects of roasting marshmallows over a fire pit with the kids, however the fear is real, in only the former.

    It is more favorable to simply claim all indoor spaces are to be legislated as sacred and smoke free. Irrespective of the prior accommodation without complaint, of the same smokers who respected the smoking sections of the past, in respect of those who simply didn't like the smell of smoke, or so they claimed at the time.

    Many seem to have just lost all value of Communities, Integrity and even their Neighbors, at the behest of those who identify themselves as public health authorities.

    Hatred drives the lemmings to many jump points in health scare campaigns, funny thing though, they all arrive at the same destination.

  • fyodor||

    When a restaurant owner allows 100 people to smoke in his bar, he is making the decision that everyone in that bar is, in fact, going to breathing air roughly equivalent to having someone blow smoke in your face.

    Well certainly the 100 people who are smoking are fine with the situaion. I don't know how big your hypothetical bar is, but the bigger it is, the less it's true that the air is like having smoke blown in your face, and the smaller it is, the more significant it becomes to accomodate the smokers relative to the non-smokers.

    Let's say a courthouse had air quality comparable to that bar. Would people who cannot enter without suffering ill effects, and who then "choose" not to go to court, be denied their rights?

    Maybe. But that's pretty obviously different. Government facilities operate at the pleasure of and for the benefit for the People. Bars operate at the pleasure of and for the benefit of their owners. People open bars to make money, and if they can't make money in a manner that's acceptable to them, they'll do something else to make money. No one has a right for there to be a bar in the first place, someone has to take the initiative to open one for their own purposes.

    All of these "consents" are implied.

    Yeah, my standard for recognizing consent is somewhat higher than a mere state of being. Based on your logic, one could see consent in anything. I'm not saying you see consent in anything, I'm saying based on your logic, one could make a case for consent to just about anything.

    You appear to agree that it is a ridiculous position to claim that the government should have no more power to regulate what happens in a restaurant than what happens in a private home.

    On what basis do you make this distinction?


    First of all, I would replace the word "ridiculous" with "wrong". Let's not be gratuitously dramatic! (Well, unless it's to be funny!)

    Secondly, maybe this seems like mere semantics, but it is you who are making a distinction; I am not making a distinction.

    What is common between the two situations which gives me no need to make a distinction is ownership, aka private property. Imagine that!

  • ||

    Neither you, nor anyone else, has shown me to be wrong.

    Well, joe, you were completely, objectively, unambiguously wrong when, on this thread, you called me (a Mormon non-smoker) a smoker -- because I was defending the right of smokers and property owners to make their own decisions.

    But, you've never admitted to being wrong, so I guess I'm just deluded about me not smoking ever, under any circumstances.

  • ||

    Why do we need smoking bans if affordable technology exists to clear the air of smoke. If filtration machines can protect welders from the smoke generated by welding galvanized steel indoors that can kill in an hour, they can protect bartenders from cigarette smoke.

    See the 2nd post in the thread.

    Many restaurants in Maryland fell for this scam perpetrated by the county: install air scrubbers and we won't things any worse for you.

    Then, like any good thug, they changed the rules of the game as soon as the busineeses were done complying with their last set of demands and made new demands, which just happened to negate the first set. "Ooooo. Too bads abouts dat."

    It's not about air quality. It's about power and control.

  • ||

    You appear to agree that it is a ridiculous position to claim that the government should have no more power to regulate what happens in a restaurant than what happens in a private home.

    On what basis do you make this distinction?


    You appear to state that it is acceptable for the government should have the power to interfere in the affairs of consenting adults when no one who is not party to the transaction is affected. The only difference is that one takes place in a business and the other in a residence. Both are privately owned.

    On what basis do you make this distinction?

  • fyodor||

    when no one who is not party to the transaction is affected

    Obviously people are "affected" by the transaction wherein smokers are allowed to smoke in a bar; what is NOT happening is anyone's rights being violated. Let's not load joe's gun for him!

    And to be fair to joe, he has explained his distinction. A bar is a place of "public accomodation" which he likens to a courtroom.

    I tried to describe why a citizen may possibly have a "right" (loosely speaking) to a, let's say "reasonable person's" expectation of what constitutes reasonable access to government facilities but not to someone else's private property, regardless that that property is being run as a business that serves a "public" clientele. To wit, if a stranger walked in your house uninvited and not during an open party, you'd say, "Who are you and what the hell are you doing here?" If a stranger walks into a bar, the bartender says, "What'll it be, bud?" Now, whether that's a difference that invites government regulation between consulting adults and accomodation to would-be customers who may not like aspects of the bar environment and/or its service policies and whether opening such a business implies inherent consent to government meddling in said business are the effective issues here, and here I would agree with you that I don't see it at all.

    And in case joe thinks I'm downplaying the "noxious fume" and health aspect of this, I don't think things are so cut and dry when A) lots of people ENJOY smoking and in the company of other smokers and many non-smokers couldn't care less, and B) it is easy to for smoke haters to avoid without it posing any undue burden to protecting their rights (as lack of access to government facilities would do (think I explained the difference there a little better this time!)).

    And btw joe, aside from the objections I've already raised about this supposedly statistical study, how do we know the "comparible businesses" are really comparible? Who decided this? Anyway, if the vast majority of reputable statiticians agree that smoking bans help restaurants but restaurateurs are still against them, I'd have to agree they're just a crazy lot. But until that point, it doesn't pass the sniff test, and it shouldn't for any reasonable person!!

  • green mamba||

    Kudos to Joe for kicking everyone's ass around the block (especially the annoying Epissyarch) on this thread in defense of his very reasonable position.

  • David W. Kuneman||

    Let's not forget that the Glantz article in Tobacco Control is also flawed by the fact that the controls are not pure controls.

    Glantz assumes that restaurants in areas without bans are representative of owners freedom of choice, when, in fact, most are required to only allow smoking in limited indoor areas.

    For, example, in Missouri, all restaurants over 50 seats are required to set aside 70% of their space as nonsmoking. Most other states have similar statutes.

    For this reason, the owner's choice has already been interfered with. In some circumstances, such as exist in southern Missouri, in some counties, 30-40% of the adults smoke. It is entirely likely, that smokers' wait times for smoking seating are longer than nonsmokers' because of this statute. Everywhere in Missouri, if an owner choses to allow smoking, he has to rely on a forced mix of patrons, some of whom prefer smoking, and some of whom, do not, for his business. Most also have had to pay for and operate expensive ventilation systems, and endure other costs to operate as smoker friendly under this statute.

    In addition to these costs, in order to allow smoking, and still attract nonsmoking customers, owners may have to keep prices lower than they would if they could be 100% smoking.

    For these reasons, restaurants which still allow smoking easily may have already suffered some negative economic consequence not factored into the findings and ignored by Glantz. These negative consequences would be caused not by allowing smoking, but by the statutes limiting smoking to certain areas which may be of insufficient size. The Glantz study is another shoddy study, at best. No one knows what the economic performance of a large, 100% smoking restaurant would be.

    Neither argument recognizes that the free market is already interfered with in both the control restaurants and test restaurants.

    My partner and I have researched states with smoking bans and states without them. I have also collected a large body of studies by others which confirm that bans do indeed harm business.
    http://kuneman.smokersclub.com/economic.html

    David W. Kuneman
    Dir of Research
    The Citizen's Freedom Alliance
    The Smokers'Club

  • bill egatz||

    tobacco kills and sickens ban it, alchohol kills injures and sickens ban it,meat kills and sickens ban it, guns kill and injure ban them amusement rides kill injure and sickens ban them,pets kill injure and sicken ban them, cars kill injure and sicken ban them,water kills injures and sicken ban it etc etc etc

  • AwesomeDude||

    Hey I just found this site and this article. It looks pretty cool. :)

    About the topic, YES, it should be up to each business to allow or not allow smoking in his or her establishment. I can see no reason to do any different.

    With as many discussions as I have had about this matter, I have NEVER been told a VALID reason to the contrary.

    Glantz is a fake and a phony and a thief! I don't care what your beliefs of the Tobacco Issue are, if you trust Glantz I feel sorry for you!

    Anyway, I just wanted to say to Jacob Sullum: Nice article! TY!!!

  • AwesomeDude||

    Oh, and David W. Kuneman, (What's up? You probably know who I am. Small world! ;)), that is a very good point!

    I did not know about that Missouri law, myself. I had no idea. But yeah, that's ridiculous! If a place wants to make it all 100% smoking they should be allowed to. Same if they want it 100% non-smoking!

    From the owner's perspective, that could be almost as bad as a ban. (Well, like I said, "almost". And that's from the owner's perspective, not the customer's...)

    That's pretty lame! They need to do something about that. Of course the main thing I want to see is more bans overturned like what's been happening since the Greenville, SC incident!!! :D

    But yes that Missouri law is pretty messed up.

  • AwesomeDude||

    And to Joe: This is Internet. You cannot smack anybody. This is Internet!!! ROFL!!!

    No words you can say about another poster can have any affect on anybody except the one who posted it (yourself).

    Sorry. :(

    But you can flame me if you want to. I don't mind one bit. I'm glad I am that important to you. :D

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